Immunisation Training Standards: Part I – What is your understanding?

Health Academy welcomes you to this 4 part series in which we will break down the following Public Health England and Royal College of Nursing documents:

  • National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners. Accessible here
  • National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Healthcare Support Workers. Accessible here

By pulling out all the relevant information, we will help you understand why the document is so important to you if your organisation is a provider of immunisation programmes. We will also look at how training guidelines have been altered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Part I will look at the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for ImmunisationTraining for Registered Healthcare document. We will establish what the document is, who it is for, and why it is important for you to know about it.  Part I of our series is included below.

Part II will take you through the specific training pathways that registered healthcare practitioners should take to be able to competently, safely and effectively promote and administer vaccinations.

Part III will examine the training standards for healthcare support workers and how they differ from the standards for registered healthcare practitioners.

And finally in Part IV, we will look at the government plans to make changes to the law in order to maximise the vaccinating opportunities. This will hopefully allow them to have enough trained staff to administer the covid-19 vaccine(s) when the need arises. 

Part I – What is the National Minimum Standards Document and who is it for?

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What is the National Minimum Standards document?

Healthcare practitioners from a wide diversity of professional backgrounds now give immunisations in many different settings and service areas. The National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners is a key document. It sets out a recommended minimum framework for developing training to meet the needs of all registered healthcare practitioners with a role in immunisation. The document can be used by training providers as a ’checklist’ to ensure that any training being offered is comprehensive and meets the minimum standards for content.

Why should it concern you?

If your staff, are administering vaccinations then they will all be required to follow local and national guidance and will likely look to you for advice and direction for this. In addition there is a legal and ethical responsibility on the provider of vaccination programmes, for example, in England Section 3.31 of the core service specification for the national immunisation programme clearly states that providers of immunisation programmes have a duty to ensure that staff are fully competent and trained in accordance with these national standards.

What are the aims of the document?

The overall aim of the standards is to set out recommendations for commissioners, providers and trainers which describe the minimum training that should be given to all practitioners engaging in any aspect of immunisation, so that they are able to confidently, competently, safely and effectively promote and administer vaccinations.

Who should do immunisation training?

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Any registered healthcare practitioner or healthcare support worker who wishes to administer vaccinations, should partake in immunisation training in line with their relevant training standards. However, in addition to this, the documents do recognise the fact that there are now many different staff involved in the immunisation process including some from non-clinical backgrounds, and that those providing advice or access to immunisation, in whatever service area, have access to training.  This is important in order to ensure that they can provide basic information and facts, are able to advise where to get up-to-date information and give consistent messages about immunisation.

Who should deliver the training?

The standards state that training should be provided by an experienced training provider. While training would ideally be provided at a local level, it may be obtained from an experienced training provider elsewhere, provided the training comprehensively covers the standards and curriculum detailed in this document.

How should training be delivered?

The guidelines state that e-learning courses provide an effective mechanism through which immunisers can access training provided they are given specific, protected training time in which to undertake these.

Where appropriate or necessary (particularly for those new to immunisation), a blended learning approach can be utilised with an e-learning course(s) used alongside practical sessions to help ensure participants achieve all of the required learning outcomes and consolidate their knowledge.

However, due to the current requirements for social distancing, Public Health England have published guidance for immunisation training during the Covid-19 pandemic, in which they suggest that immunisers should utilise e-learning, online, and virtual training sessions to access foundation and update training rather than the face to face or the mixed delivery learning approaches recommended in the standards documents. They also advise that training needs to be provided prior to new immunisers starting to immunise and not postponed until after the pandemic.

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At Health Academy we believe that there is no need for training standards to be compromised during this period and that well constructed, high quality online immunisation training with a practical element can provide an equally effective learning experience to that of face to face training.  Click here or on the above image to view a selection of quality online courses.

Part II

Don’t miss Part II of our series next week when we will be looking at the specific training pathways in the Core Curriculum document for healthcare practitioners with a free downloadable flowchart for easy reference.

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