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Welcome to the HCA Academy!

The foundation of the NHS workforce is our hard-working Health Care Assistants. Often serving as the primary contact for patients and the face of our services, their role is pivotal. When we nurture and recognise the achievements of our HCAs, they can accomplish remarkable feats.

This year, the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System is introducing the new HCA Academy, an innovative approach to develop our Health Care Assistant workforce. By providing our HCAs with a better start, support, and opportunities to progress, we aim to showcase the NHS as an excellent place to build a career.

What is the HCA Academy?

The HCA Academy marks a significant transformation in how we attract, train, and retain our HCA workforce.

To provide our HCA applicants with a strong foundation, we now offer an industry leading week-long induction to equip them for ward placements. This induction prepares them for roles in both mental and physical health, offering a comprehensive understanding of the various patient and healthcare scenarios they may encounter.

The induction will be held in-person at Brentwood Community Hospital, featuring a centralised ‘Education Hub’ for colleagues from Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust (MSEFT) and Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

After the induction, HCAs will receive mentorship in their roles and opportunities for further education, apprenticeships, or specialised training. Our dedicated team provides personalised support, enabling HCAs to address concerns and seek guidance effectively.

What does it mean for..?

Hiring Managers

New starter HCAs will automatically be enrolled into the HCA Academy induction which will provide them with the tools and resources they need for placement on the ward. Following this, they will attend the corporate induction offered by their organisation. Care units will be supported throughout the shortlisting process. As a result, managers will receive highly motivated and knowledgeable staff who are ready to start on the ward.

HCAs already employed by EPUT or MSEFT

The HCA Academy will expand throughout the year, eventually providing a 360-degree approach to supporting HCAs throughout their NHS journey, highlighting opportunities for further education via our partners, mentoring and coaching, and progression schemes. This will be available to all HCAs, no matter how long they have worked with us.

Patients

The HCA Academy ensures the staff working with our patients are well prepared in both mental and physical health presentations, resulting in high quality care for our patients.

FAQ

How long is the induction?

The induction offered by HCA Academy is five days long, and HCAs will also need to attend the corporate induction offered by their organisation. While this does mean a longer induction period before starting work, HCAs will be better prepared and require less guidance upon placement in the ward.

What is covered during the induction?

As well as giving our HCAs the best possible start, the new induction includes training in both mental and physical health, offering a comprehensive understanding of the various healthcare scenarios they may encounter.

The week will cover essential skills such as the role of the HCA, infection prevention, vital signs and NEWS2, as well as training in mental health awareness and the Mental Health Act. By centralising the training offering between the two Trusts, we enable our HCAs to understand the importance of a holistic approach to patient care.

What support will be offered to HCAs after the induction?

Following their induction, HCAs will be offered opportunities to upskill and signposted to pathways into apprenticeships and further education to obtain skills needed to progress. For their first few months with the Trust they will be given wellbeing and pastoral support with avenues to raise concerns and seek further guidance within their role.

What areas does HCA Academy cover?

The HCA Academy is offered to all HCAs who are employed by MSEFT and EPUT, covering services across Luton, Bedfordshire, Essex and Suffolk.

HCA Academy Timetable. The left side is divided into hour slots, running from 9am to 5pm. The lessons include Role of the HCA, Intro to M+H, Practical HCA Skills, Welcome and Feedback, Professional behaviours / policies, Infection Prevention, Basic Life Support (BLS) Theory, BLS Practical, Fluid and Nutrition, Intro to Diabetes, Falls, Care of the Skin, Vital Signs and National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) Theory, Vital Signs and NEWS2 Practical, Mental Health Act (Group 1), Mental Health Awareness, Dementia and Delirium (Group 2), Mental Health Act (Group 2), Mental Health Awareness, Dementia and Delirium (Group 1), Supervision, One to One, Levels of Mental Health Observations, Patient Experience, Fire Safety, Intro to Care Certificate, Career Conversations, Plans for next week, Feedback and Evaluation