The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are fourteen territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom, but do not form part of the United Kingdom itself. These include a range of Caribbean and Atlantic islands, territories in the Indian Ocean, stretches of Antarctica, and territories in Europe, including Gibraltar.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have delegated responsibility from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for supporting healthcare provision in the UKOTs. UKHSA approached NHS England’s TEL team earlier this year to support with the implementation of an education programme for the health workforce in the Caribbean overseas territory of Montserrat.
Montserrat has a comparatively small population of 4,390 people but faces many of the same challenges around health workforce we have in the UK, specifically a nursing shortage. The aim has been to develop a workforce education model that builds local workforce capability over the long term while supporting retention of health workers in Montserrat. This supports the UK Government’s ambition to play a leading role in improving health globally, and a UK-Caribbean regional development initiative.
TEL worked closely with NHS England’s Global Unit, UKHSA and with the Senior Nurse Leadership team in Montserrat to prioritise clinical areas and tailor an elearning curriculum for the nursing workforce. Based on existing needs, the nurses identified mental health, critical care, geriatrics/rehabilitation, tissue viability, and leadership as priority areas.
TEL has provided access to the elearning for healthcare (elfh) platform and designed a curriculum for Montserratian nurses to complete around 52 hours of elfh courses over 6 months. The launch event was held in August 2023 (initially planned for June but delayed due to electricity supply issues on the island) with more than 50 nurses signing-up to take part.
An induction for the nurses, provision of user support, and development of formal reporting has also been provided by the TEL team as the nurses progress through the learning. It is anticipated that the nurses will complete the learning by March 2024 where a celebration event will be held in Montserrat to congratulate the nurses on their achievements.
The NHS Global Unit and NHSE TEL are looking to expand access to elfh and support for other UKOTs beyond Montserrat, to include the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda. The work has the potential to expand beyond access to elfh, to include access to wider TEL initiatives, workforce redesign and human resources for health development and we are excited to continue building these partnerships to improve access to health education across the world.
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