New partnership is helping to tackle staff shortages in South West NHS Trusts

A major new partnership is helping to tackle skills shortages facing six NHS Trusts across the South West of England.

Birmingham City University joined forces with half-a-dozen Trusts in the region three years ago, to help train professionals to provide care for patients who are having surgery.

Now 20 new Operating Department Practitioners have been added to the South West’s health workforce to help address staff shortages in the area.

The partnership sees the University deliver its Operating Department Practice course in Exeter, providing training for future healthcare professionals in the region.

Operating Department Practitioners care for patients before their operation, during surgery and whilst patients are in recovery.

The first cohort of trainees on the course celebrated completing their training at a special ceremony held at Powderham Castle in Devon.

Alison Copp, Head of Professional Development at Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust partnered with other local acute Trusts and Birmingham City University to deliver the Operating Department Practice diploma in the South West.

“Prior to this initiative, staffing of theatre workforce, particularly attracting ODPs was extremely challenging. However, we are delighted now to be welcoming our first registered ODP from this initiative into our South West theatres which is providing us with a sustainable, accessible pipeline for our theatre workforce thus easing some of the workforce challenges we were facing.

“We are delighted to have been part of the celebrations relating to those that have completed and are now valued members of our theatre workforce.”

Birmingham City University also has the UK’s only contract to train and educate the Armed Forces’ Operating Department Practitioners.

Charlotte Burnside, Head of Department for Paramedic Science and Operating Department Practice at Birmingham City University, said: “We are proud to be part of such a positive and innovative partnership that was established in 2017 to secure the ongoing supply of Operating Department Practitioners for the South West Peninsula NHS Trusts.

“Thanks to the amazing people involved, students, clinical partners and my wonderful team of academics the partnership continues to grow and we are so proud of the achievements and look forward to welcoming our third cohort of trainees – thank you to all involved.”

Find out more about courses in Operating Department Practice in the South West on the University’s website.