Non-clinical staff in the NHS are among the best qualified in the world. However, Dan Wright argues that in every primary care trust, care home and clinic there are overlooked workers who urgently need a training health check

The role played by non-medical staff in the provision of health services is vital, helping organisations to function effectively as well as meeting the ancillary needs of their patients. Providing effective training is crucial to ensure these workers are able to perform at their best.

For employers looking to offer training to this group, who carry out a wide variety of jobs, this task can seem daunting. The diversity and range of skills required means that simple training solutions are difficult to find. Many employers will also have concerns about an additional drain on budgets.

Such perceived obstacles are often to blame for the lack of training for ancillary staff and yet these issues can easily be overcome through training audits that are available free of charge.

Government funding made available through the national network of learning and skills councils means any employer can access skills brokers or independent training providers. These organisations can provide full training audits matching courses to each job role and skill level.

In some cases the needs of medical and non-medical workers can be dealt with collectively. The NVQUK Stars programme, which has recently been launched in partnership with vocational training provider Protocol Skills to all health organisations, is one such example.

By combining knowledge and practice from inside and outside the health service, the programme aims to ensure non-medical workers receive the same standard of training support as medically trained colleagues.

The Stars programme covers a range of subjects for health service workers, including a number of non-health related topics such as catering, business administration, customer service and retail.

With an unprecedented level of advice and funding available, as well as programmes specifically designed to cover the needs of medical and non-medical staff, it has never been easier to ensure that all workers have access to a full training health check.