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Safeguarding Children e-Academy partners Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to deliver online training

Safeguarding Children E-Academy : 26 August, 2008  (Company News)
The national Safeguarding Children e-Academy is working in partnership with the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to deliver specialist online training to all 10,500 staff to help ensure the region’s children and young people are looked after properly, kept safe and protected from harm.
Heather Owen, the trust’s named nurse for safeguarding, is making significant progress in rolling out an Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect course across the Trust’s five hospitals - Birmingham Heartlands, Solihull, Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Chest Clinic, along with a number of smaller satellite treatment units.

The collaboration is thought to be the first time an e-learning exercise on this scale has been undertaken in the NHS.

Training began in August 2007 and Heather reports that some 3,600 hospital staff have now commenced their Safeguarding Children e-learning, either working on computers in the hospitals or at home on their own personal computers.

Almost 850 of these people have completed the core module and received their certificates.

Owen commented: “Over recent years, the Trust has recognised the need to invest in an ambitious development programme if it is to provide the best patient care”.

“We are accountable to three Safeguarding Children Boards in South Staffordshire, Solihull and Birmingham and under The Children’s Act 2004 have an obligation to ensure that all people working with children and young people should have the necessary child protection training.”

At the outset, Owen and her team established a Safeguarding Unit. Owen explained: “The first major challenge encountered, because of the size and geographical spread of the Trust’s staff, was raising awareness that the initiative was actually up and running”.

“We took into account a child’s journey through the hospitals and prioritised which groups should first undertake training, namely those most involved with children”.

“The need for effective communication quickly became a priority. All management are kept fully informed, while steps are taken at every turn to spread the e-learning message to help ensure that each and every Trust employee is both aware of and has an opportunity to become fully involved in the learning process”.

“The headline message that such training is now a legal requirement that it must be undertaken - is driven home at all times.”

Owen said she has received across-the-board support from all involved in the initiative. There has been positive feedback from Safeguarding Children Boards on how training is being delivered and from Trust staff who feel it is easy to access, use and understand.

Hospital management, too, have recognised the challenges and encouraged the Safeguarding team to keep up the pressure and forge ahead.

She also notes that the Safeguarding Children e-Academy team has been extremely supportive in providing help and guidance throughout the process, particularly assisting in problem-solving and how issues might be tackled in a better way.

Owen commented: “We have made a very promising start. Our people are now increasingly buying into e-learning and recognising the benefits as awareness spreads. We are definitely succeeding, but there is still much work to do”.

“Our mission remains to roll out training to all who work for the Trust at the earliest possible opportunity, at the same time working together to achieve our legal and moral objectives, promoting best practice at every turn.”

The Safeguarding Children e-Academy, based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, is the UK’s leading provider of online training to all who come into contact with children.

Manager Abby Dacres explained: “The e-Academy researches and develops structured strategic frameworks and introduces clear and flexible pathways that will embed e-learning as best practice in the children’s workforce and help create a safer, more secure future for our children and young people”.

“Since our formation in 2006, the e-Academy has seen 47 local Safeguarding Children Boards across the country sign up to access specialist online training as part of their commitment to the 2004 Children’s Act and the national Working Together 2006 statutory guidance”.

“The work we are undertaking with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is pioneering and can be hailed as a shining example of best practice worthy of adoption by other NHS Trusts across the UK.”
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