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CREATING a health and care academy in Powys will be vital in making sure that the North Powys Health and Wellbeing campus in Newtown has staff.

At a meeting of the Health and Care scrutiny committee on Friday, June 25, questions were asked as to how specialist health and care workers would be found to staff the campus in Newtown when it is built.

Part of the proposal is to use the campus as a hub for specialist doctors from hospitals in Shropshire and further afield to hold clinics in Newtown and minimise patient travel.

Cllr Daniel Rowlands, who works as a nurse, said: “The idea of not travelling into acute settings to access certain services sounds really positive.

“But in reality, how are we going to recruit the right people for the jobs for the services that are needed?

“For example, improving ophthalmology (eyes) services, residents have been travelling as far as Leyton Hospital (Crewe – Cheshire) to access this service.

“We’ve issues of struggling to recruit doctors and there’s other services for example CAMS (mental health) have a huge waiting list.

“In order to achieve a programme like this we need to have the right people in the right place to bring about the service that’s required.

“I’m worried that if recruitment is a problem how do we improve this, to make a programme like this succeed?

Portfolio holder for Adult Social Care, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, said: “Part of the answer I think must be the Health and Care Academy, and putting an emphasis on research and innovation taking place here.

“People want to come to jobs where the role is interesting and challenging, and having a component of innovation will help.

“We’re not looking to recruit clinical leads for this project, we’ll be using specialists coming to the patients rather than recruiting a full team of specialists ourselves.”

Carly Skeets of PTHB, said that a workstream had been set up to specifically deal with the potential workforce issue.

Ms Skeets said: “There are national challenges, the Health and Care Academy is an opportunity to capture people during their training.

“What we have found anecdotally is that lots of people do stay in Powys.

“When we have GPs, who come and train with us they want to stay.”

She added that they had more work to do around modelling what the workforce for the North Powys Wellbeing Programme would look like.

Plans for the academy to be based at the Basil Webb Hall, on the Bronllys Hospital site near Brecon were approved earlier this year.

Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) and Powys County Council who are working together on the project have stated their ambition of opening the academy this autumn.

The academy will offer face-to-face and digital learning opportunities through four schools – a School of Research, Development and Innovation, a School of Leadership, a School of Volunteers and Carers, and a School of Professional and Clinical Education and Training.

Its first group of students will have been being offered work placements with PTHB, the council’s Social Services and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) through the UK Government-funded Kickstart Scheme.

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