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Relaunch fails to ignite KSF scheme

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Just one in five NHS staff in England has received support from the health service’s staff development scheme, unions have revealed.

Latest figures collected by unions show that 67% of staff have full Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) job outlines but only 35% say they have had full personal development reviews and just 20% of staff say they have received support.

It is four years since KSF was introduced to accompany Agenda for Change pay scales, and just 12 months since the framework was relaunched in a bid to improve its profile.

Junior health minister Ann Keen has become so concerned about the continued poor uptake of the KSF she has written to all trusts urging them to make implementation a priority and setting out a list of actions required from boards (see box).

‘As it is clear that there are so many positive outcomes from the implementation of the KSF, I am asking you to ensure this action is taken forward in your organisation,’ she said last month.

Mike Jackson, Unison senior national officer, said: ‘What is clear is that some organisations have been very proactive at implementing the KSF and are reaping the benefits but there are some organisations that have not.

‘As a result we think in the long term those organisations will suffer because they are not using the KSF to improve the skills of their staff,’ he said.

Meanwhile, in Scotland and Wales, ministers are already directly performance-managing introduction of the KSF, which means uptake may speed up after a slow start.

In Wales 63% of staff have a job outline and the remainder should have received theirs by the end of October.

In Scotland 15.5% of staff have job outlines and 6.8% have personal development outlines, with work due to be complete by March 2009. This is an improvement on figures a year ago, when just 2.6% of staff had received their job outline, as revealed by NT.

Mr Jackson added: ‘We expect Wales and Scotland to be catching up – they could overtake England at this rate.’

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