Background Many UK sexual health clinics are in the process of integrating Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and GUMedicine (GUM) services. Amongst the many challenges they face is that of appropriately training newly integrated staff. Our unit is has recently undergone integration of contraception, termination, outreach and GUM/HIV services. Central to this process was the establishment of a comprehensive training strategy for all clinical staff.
Objectives To describe the successful implementation of an integration training strategy using BASHH’s STIF portfolio between 2012–2014.
Methods An initial baseline staff survey demonstrated a lack of consistency of formal sexual health qualifications amongst both SRH and GUM staff. It also highlighted considerable skills amongst some HCAs who had lacked opportunity to formalise them. Our desire was to use existing national qualifications and provide equality of access to all grades of staff.
Results Between 2012–2014 we ran 2 STIF theory courses and 4 STIFLevel 1 assessments. In total 53 staff attended STIF theory and 45 successfully completed STIFLevel 1 (including 8 HCAs). A further 7 senior nurses and 2 SRH doctors have completed STIFIntermediate. One band 7 GUM nurse has also completed STIFAdvanced.
Conclusion The STIF portfolio has provided practical and effective tools in training and assessing staff during our local integration process. We believe that the existence of a clear training strategy helped maintain moral and staff retention during a potentially difficult time and the high level of national qualification amongst our staff will hopefully stand us in good stead in the current commissioning climate.
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