The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) has been a driving force in the move to competence-based workforce development in the NHS. Skills for Health has developed national workforce competences that aim to improve behavioural performance, and in turn increase productivity. This article describes five projects established to test Skills for Health national workforce competences, electronic tools and products in different settings in the NHS. Competences and competence tools were used to redesign services, develop job roles, identify skills gaps and develop learning programmes. Reported benefits of the projects included increased clarity and a structured, consistent and standardized approach to workforce development. Findings from the evaluation of the tools were positive in terms of their overall usefulness and provision of related training/support. Reported constraints of using the competences and tools included issues relating to their availability, content and organization. It is recognized that a highly skilled and flexible workforce is important to the delivery of high-quality health care. These projects suggest that Skills for Health competences can be used as a 'common currency' in workforce development in the UK health sector. This would support the need to adapt rapidly to changing service needs.
- National occupational standards
- National workforce competence
- NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework
- Workforce development