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Virgin to offer foundation degree to healthcare workers


Virgin Care, which holds a number of NHS community service contacts, is to start offering foundation degrees to its health and social care teams across England via a new partnership with a university.

The Professional Development (Health and Social Care) Foundation Degree will be a work-based course designed for clinical support staff and care assistants “aspiring” to become assistant practitioners, said the independent provider.

“This qualification can be the first step on a career in health and social care”

Stuart Rennison-Price

Virgin Care’s training arm will begin delivering the course to its existing health and social care teams this year, after being accredited by Derby University, which developed the higher apprenticeship.

The first cohort will study from Virgin Care’s education base in Farnham, Surrey, with a second group planned for the South West later this year.

Virgin Care is due to begin delivering a new contract to integrate health and social care services in Bath and North East Somerset in April and already delivers children’s services in Wiltshire and across Devon, meaning a large number of the company’s 7,000 colleagues are based in the South West.

Stuart Rennison-Price, director of people and service at Virgin Care, said: “This qualification can be the first step on a career in health and social care which can lead to colleagues qualifying as registered professionals, helping to fill a skills gap we’ve identified in the workforce and allow our colleagues the chance to achieve their full potential.

University of Derby

Midlands university launches fast-track MSc in nursing

Source: Dommccas

University of Derby, main campus

“We are delighted to have been able to partner with the University of Derby to deliver this innovative course, and ultimately to improve the care and service we provide for the communities we serve across England,” he said.

Dr Paula Holt, dean of the College of Health and Social Care at the University of Derby, said: “We are extremely pleased to have developed this qualification, which will give health and social care workers in England the education, skills and competence needed in order to pursue a career as an assistant practitioner.

“We look forward to seeing clinical support staff and care assistants from across the sector taking up this innovative course and achieving their full potential,” she added.



Readers' comments (14)

  • Anthony Johnson

    If any moderators are watching this, why was a trade union or the NUS not asked for their opinion on this? Surely there are people who would be concerned by Virgin becoming involved with the training of our future professionals?!

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  • Nursing on the cheap again, not to mention that Bliars mate Branson is involved. As a former EN at least i was answerable this lot wont be. Another nail in the coffin.

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  • Leadership? How are we allowing this to happen Please can we call an urgent summit of Nurses who have a backbone to rise up and be counted . I for one will call on the profession to come to the aid of the future.
    When will we have had enough, what next will you accept, Enough.

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  • BRANSON that man will do anything to get his filthy hands on the NHS
    The NHS is being stolen and sold off. The contracts he has are considered stolen goods
    This is definitely nursing on the cheap and Mike Parish of Care UK will be he nexton jumping on the band wagon

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  • And here it is. The nursing Apocalypse has begun!

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  • Career progression in healthcare isn't just about having a nursing degree. As a HCA the foundation degree offers very valuable training which benefits healthcare providers and service users. It's not about replacing nurses it's about offering all levels of support workers an opportunity to progress.

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  • has anyone asked for the NMC opinion on this ?

    when the health care workers have graduated they will revalidate (if their time comes) and register with the NMC ...

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  • The betrayal of nurses has began and it initiators identified. No leaders to be found, no union will take necessary industrial action, academics talk a goog talk but that is it. The commodification and commercialisation of nursing continues. We bid the likes of private Care and now education into the domain NHS, which in protest should we not refuse to work or educated

    To think RCN, Unite and Unison have grown so weak. And a message to the unions for each message on a subway wall there are likely a thousand more that think the same.

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  • I am shocked at some of the comments above. I don't want to see the NHS sold off either and I think the current CCG led system is not working or sustainable but when I was reading this article I was thinking that it was good Virgin was taking responsibility for staff development. We are all having to look at new and innovative ways of working and cannot, in the face of increased workloads and patient complexity matched with static funding, continue without exploring different ways of supporting our staff to do their job. These staff will have to do a more advanced role anyway so surely it is better that they are trained for it? And hopefully can be supported in the role by forward thinking registered nurses?

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  • Innovative? Shocked? Lol where have you been hiding Clare? This gov has caused these issues and then voila vested interests taking their part and institutions allowing it to happen. Private care may work for vested interests and their friends in gov but doesnt necessary equate with patient need nor necessary nurse education. Shocked - lol but I think most are not convinced by your comments. The poor ligitamcy of gov dealings is the real terror and the way in which it does it. BETRAYAL OF THE PUBLIC IS CLEAR.

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  • This sounds promising! Looks like, for the most part, people on this thread are more concerned about the role of nurse associates. Sounds like this degree doesnt entitle them to that role? Certainly the nmc wouldnt register them as such. But for our healthcare assistants to have more of a knowledge base like they do in countries such as spain, it works! They are happier because they can progress onto more training, they have opportunity to progress to other roles, most importantly It would be hoped that higher education would increase positive patient outcomes.

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  • The NHS want anyone willing to take on training at their cost to save the NHS money. they would allow Mickey Mouse to offer training so that if anything goes wrong, the buck doesn't stop with the NHS.

    We can all see where the NHS is going, with the CQC closing down GP practices or making it impossible for them to stay in practice, bullies the whole lot of them

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  • My friend left Virgin and returned to the NHS because of the massive difference in pension arrangements.

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  • These comments annoy me so much. First of all Assistant practitioner is not associate practitioner. This course is not nursing on the cheap. It's a 240 credit course (same as diploma) but teaches evidence based on the job nursing skills. It allows health care assistants to develop to a level 4 post. If they want to continue to their nursing degree they enter at year 2 of a nursing degree. It is hard work. I've done it. I'm not a registered associate practitioner. I'll finish my nursing degree with 10years NHS experience, 480 University credits and will be highly employable and will have worked for 2out of my 4 years studying learning on the job nursing skills and 2 years supernumerary . I think it's worrying there are band 6s and upwards working with diplomas worth 240credits and no evidence based working skills and people qualifying as nurses who've never worked a day in healthcare before?! Why do we frown so much on hca development to nurses these days?!

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