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Last updated: 14.11.18

The Importance of Mandatory and Statutory Training in the NHS

Why is training so important?

Training is a hugely important part of working for the NHS; it ensures that staff have the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their roles safely and effectively. In few other sectors is it as important that employees know how to keep themselves and their patients safe. As a result, statutory and mandatory training will be found in every NHS organisation, department and workplace. But what exactly do these terms mean, and why are they important?

Statutory Training

Of the two types of training, statutory is generally seen as the most important. This is because statutory training is a requirement under law as part of everyday work. It’s not necessarily specific to being able to carry out a particular service, but rather is essential for people working in most NHS environments. For example, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 covers a large amount of information that pertains to the way in which people must work to ensure that they and their colleagues are safe. It is not optional, and it applies to almost all NHS employees, which means that virtually all of them will have to undertake training that is informed by it at some point.

Statutory training is important practically in the NHS because it’s generally about ensuring that staff and their colleagues work in a safe environment. Where statutory training is not undertaken, there are all manner of potential risks. Staff, patients and visitors could potentially come to harm, and there can be legal repercussions where training has failed to be given or followed.

Often, statutory training will be undertaken when you first start a job, and it may need to be refreshed periodically. Some examples of types of training that are generally considered statutory and are very common include the following:

  • Manual handling
  • Fire safety
  • Risk assessment
  • General workplace health and safety

Mandatory Training

Mandatory training is slightly different in that it’s focused on more specific tasks that are central to a role. It is however essential, and is decided upon by organisational, national, or even governmental guidelines. Again, mandatory training will generally have a focus on keeping staff, patients and visitors safe. If employees do not take this training, then they may not have the skills and knowledge that their role requires in terms of safety. Again, consequences of not having this training can also mean legal implications. In the NHS, where individual services are commissioned, it can also mean risking loss of the service.

Examples of types of training that could be mandatory include some of the following:

  • Safeguarding - Not all employees will work with vulnerable adults and children, but for those that do, it’s essential that they understand how to keep them safe.
  • Hazardous substances - Chemicals and other hazards are present in many clinical settings, and in order to stay safe and on the right side of the law, mandatory training may be required to work with them safely.
  • Information governance - Confidential information is prevalent in healthcare, and many employees will have an obligation to understand how it should be used appropriately.
  • Hygiene - Hospital infections hit the headlines regularly in past decades, which is why there’s a big focus on preventing them through things like proper hand washing.
  • Whistleblowing - Governmental organisations such as the NHS have many standards they need to uphold, and it’s important that staff feel that they can speak out where they see problems.
  • Equality - Dealing with and caring for the general public at large means understanding concerns surrounding equality, whether that pertains to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else.
  • First aid and resuscitation - The more people there are with first aid, and resuscitation training in particular, the safer an environment is. You’ll find that many NHS employees must have this training.

It’s important to note that the above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many, many kinds of mandatory training within the NHS, and no two teams are likely to have the same requirements. Our resource pack may be useful for managers and those responsible for training, and in particular it’s designed to help services hit compliance targets, for which mandatory and statutory training is very important. Click here to download the pack.

Where to Find Training

Here at Virtual College, we’re pleased to be able to offer a wide range of training types suitable for NHS employees. Visit our healthcare page to find out more about the online courses that we can provide.

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