Health Education England (HEE) have announced that a new blended learning programme for Anaesthesia Associates (AA) will be launched at two universities.
AA are highly trained and skilled practitioners who work as part of a team presided over by a Consultant Anaesthetist who provides them with guidance and supervision.
University College London and Lancaster University will be running the blended learning programmes from the beginning of 2023, using a combination of learning approaches that are supported by proven, virtual and augmented digital technologies.
University College London has been commissioned to develop the programme covering London, the South East, South West, Midlands, and East of England, whilst Lancaster University’s jurisdiction will be the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber.
It is hoped the new programmes will support the growth of the AA workforce over the course of the next two years.
Patrick Mitchell, Senior Responsible Officer for Medical Associate Professions, and Director of Innovation, Digital and Transformation at Health Education England, said: “We are delighted to announce the successful award of the commission for this important programme.
“This new blended learning programme will ensure broader national coverage of education provision, making learning more accessible and widening participation. In turn, this will play a vital role in expanding the workforce pipeline and ultimately supporting the delivery of objectives set forth in the NHS Long Term Plan, helping to ensure the continuity of quality care.”
The programmes will be available online and remotely for those who are unable to learn in more traditional ways – this approach will widen accessibility to the learning, encourage participation, and ultimately support the growth of the AA workforce.
Head of Lancaster Medical School, Professor Marina Anderson, said: “At a time of such pressure on our NHS, there is an urgent need for innovation in our healthcare workforce in order to support the best care for the nation's health.
“HEE's initiative to train more anaesthesia associates across England is part of working differently to deliver excellent, efficient, equitable healthcare. Lancaster University Medical School is delighted to be working with HEE, partner NHS Trusts and statutory bodies on this important enterprise.”
Various NHS Trusts will be contacted by regional HEE offices over the coming weeks with further information pertaining to applications, enrolment, and start dates.
More information about the new programme is available here.