Health (Informatics) (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR01353
Issue number: 4
Issued: 23 April 2012

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Health (Informatics) (England)
(PDF document 1.77 MB)

Issued by
Skills for Health

Contact name: Anne Clarke
Telephone number: 0117 9221155
Please download the framework for email contact information.

Purpose

The framework supports the broad vision of the sector to develop an increasingly skilled, flexible and effective workforce whilst maintaining high quality and safe care for patients and addresses specific outcomes of the Skills for Health Sector Skills Assessment 2011.

The health sector comprises those working in the NHS (public sector) as well as voluntary and private healthcare providers and employs over 2 million people. The range of roles within the sector is very varied and the NHS careers site lists in the region of 300 different jobs.

Individuals are likely to stay within the health sector for the majority of their working lives although they are also likely to change between different job roles and different employers as their career progresses.

Whilst all roles in the health sector are open to both male and female applicants, a large proportion of the health sector workforce is female. This is due in part to the flexible terms and conditions many employers offer but also varies from role to role. As a whole the workforce within the health sector tends to reflect the population within the local community it serves. As the UK population as a whole becomes older and lives longer so does the healthcare workforce. Widening participation policies apply and health sector employers recruit accordingly and may use their apprenticeship schemes as a means to address some of these issues.

There is a range of challenges for the health sector as a whole: an ageing population creates
higher demand for services and ongoing care; patients have a greater choice of which services and treatments they access; and the current economic climate means that budgets are tight.

Apprenticeships are one of the many ways in which employers within the health sector are seeking to address some of these increasing pressures. A qualified and competent support workforce is vital to the patient experience and to the smooth running of services.

Health informatics is an emerging discipline within healthcare, but the recording and communication of information has always been essential to the practice of healthcare. Establishing health informatics as a recognised profession in health and care has been central to the national informatics development strategy for the last 10 years.

It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 people working in informatics roles in the NHS in England. Until now there have been no qualifications to support Health Informatics roles at Career Framework Level 2.  Apprenticeships are seen as being key to supporting recruitment and retention at this level of the profession and to providing the first step of a career pathway. 

The following definition is generally agreed to sum up the scope of health informatics, "The knowledge, skills and tools which enable information to be collected, managed, used and shared to support the delivery of healthcare and to promote health" (NHS Careers, 2011).

Work is being undertaken to continually refine and define roles within Health Informatics and to develop the qualifications needed to support occupational competence in those roles.

Government policy in the area of health and care focuses on the need for an “information revolution” which provides further incentive to drive up informatics knowledge and skills across the workforce. Importantly, this impacts on the capacity and capability of informatics specialists to support and enable new ways of working. Establishing career and qualification pathways in health informatics is a central strand of Department of Health Informatics policy.

This Apprenticeship framework is the first for a Health Informatics role and sits under the Information Management domain of the Health Informatics Career Framework http://www.hicf.org.uk/

Traditionally people have tended to move into Health Informatics from other fields in health e.g. clinical professions or IT. This Apprenticeship framework has been developed to provide a direct entry route into the discipline of health informatics for people with little or no experience of the health sector or informatics. It can lead on to an exciting and fulfilling career.

Apprentices will work in Health Informatics in a Health Information Assistant role.

Download framework

Health (Informatics) (England)
(PDF document 1.77 MB)