North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust (NCIC) has launched a new initiative that aims to provide all NHS staff with common concepts and languages to help improve patient care.

North Cumbria School of Generalism is hosted by NCIC on behalf of Health Education England North East. 

Within the NHS there are a huge range of professions – both clinical and non-clinical – and each has their different educational routes, but there is currently no common language that ties everything together.

Dr Sam Dearman 1.jpgProfessor Samuel Dearman, Deputy medical director for professional standards and the director of medical education for NCIC explained:

“We are very much the first to do this in the UK and we are very proud of that. The school of generalism seeks to kind of address an unmet need that the NHS has had since its inception; that notion that we all come together from very diverse professional backgrounds and then are all expected to work effectively together. Yet we don’t have a common NHS literacy, common language and common concepts, and so this programme is very much built on the idea of having a common NHS language and concept so that we can work together more effectively and in the end do a better job for as many patients as we can.”

There are 22 NHS Staff from different services – consultants, doctors, team managers, allied health professionals, project managers – who have signed up to the 12 month pilot.

One of the delegates, Dr Naz Mwande, an SAS Dr in emergency medicine, tweeted about how exciting an opportunity this is:

“A new chapter is opening. Broaden your scope. Call in the #generalist . Exciting times. First school of generalism. Thank you! Best place to live and work #cumbria.”

Namita Kumar post graduate dean for HEENE said:Namita Kumar1.jpg

“School of generalism is a new initiative to try and break down both educational and other barriers that inhibit patient care and delivery of education and training.  We are doing it first and we love being a bit competitive and also because it is a completely different approach. We haven’t done education and training in this way before. We are trying to do the right thing for our patients and for our staff and that has to be brilliant.”

Professor Dearman added: “Patient perspective is at the core of it, all of this is about everyone doing the best we can for as many patients as we can.

“It’s interesting that this hasn’t clearly been thought of before because when you take a step back and you think about the difference in the training of doctors and nurses alone, forget then the vast array of allied health professionals, our managerial colleagues our administrative colleagues, those in acute, primary care and community services everyone is so very different and so why has this not been thought of before – I’m not sure if anyone is very clear on that answer but we are trying to provide that answer now.

“If the programme goes the way we hope it will we will be making this a bid to make this a sustained part of the north Cumbria system and hopefully influence the national picture.”

Dr Ruth O'Dowd 1.jpgDr Ruth O’Dowd, HEENE head of North Cumbria School of Generalism and Anaesthetist at NCIC said:

“It is about delivering health education in a different way to suit the developing healthcare needs of the population. Learners will participate in the program alongside their normal roles within the NHS.  They will learn about principles of patient safety and role of human factors, sustainable healthcare and digital skills, equality diversity and social justice.  These examples demonstrate the breadth that the syllabus of this course covers and gives a taste of the complexity of the NHS systems, which is the very reason that it is important for staff to have a common understanding to help navigate and develop a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing for the population of North Cumbria which we serve.”

generalism fellows and leaders 6.jpgThe concept of Generalism is to provide staff from a full range of professional backgrounds, clinical and non-clinical with a common language and understanding of NHS systems and skills to enable them to take holistic approaches to both the health and wellbeing of the individual, and also entire populations. 

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