An innovative scheme to support and attract more doctors and nurses to Essex and to enhance the skills of the wider primary care workforce has been launched.
EPIC (Essex Primary Care Inter-Professional Centre) for Workforce Development based in Witham, is the result of collaboration between the seven Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England East, Health Education East of England, North and South Essex Local Medical Committees and other Essex stakeholders who seek to recruit, retain and support GPs and primary care nurses across the County.
The centre will act as a ‘resource, networking and support hub’ that is available through the EPIC Workforce Development team and an interactive website allowing staff to access training opportunities through which they can further their skills and careers, as well as find mentoring opportunities.
Sam Hepplewhite, Acting Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG, hailed the initiative as an exciting development. She said: 'It’s the result of close working between a number of different agencies including NHS organisations and local universities. I believe this new facility will further enhance the skills our hard working and loyal workforce currently have as well as attract more primary care professionals to Essex.'
The functions of the EPIC Workforce Development reflect the initiatives set out in NHS England’s 10 point GP Workforce plan released earlier this year in collaboration with Health Education England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association GP Committee (GPC). This action plan stresses the urgent need to recruit, retain and return doctors to General Practice. EPIC Workforce Development is working closely with stakeholders to support not only GPs but also the wider primary care workforce.
GP Dr Kamilla Porter leads Education and Quality in Primary Care across Essex (EQUIP) – a local primary care training organisation that will be responsible for the centre. She said: 'EPIC Workforce Development will bring together and further develop the many local educational initiatives already underway within the County. It will support and signpost primary care health professionals at all stages of their careers to high quality training and will foster coaching and mentoring opportunities.'
EPIC Workforce Development website: www.epic-wd.org.uk.