SQA launches new health and social care qualifications

Health and Social Care PDA launch

Pictured L-R are: David Rennie; Louise Gaddi, SQA Qualifications Manager; Lesley Joyce; Donna Henderson; Laura Gillies and Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has added three new awards to its portfolio of health and social care qualifications.

These new Professional Development Awards (PDAs) – Promoting Excellence in Dementia Skilled Practice, Health and Social Care: Personalisation in Practice and Telehealthcare – have been developed in partnership with a number of sector specialists, stakeholders, local authorities , further education colleges, universities and employers.

Lesley Joyce, Head of Qualifications Development (People and Services) at SQA, said: “Each of the new qualifications has gone through a rigorous development process and the teams working on them have called upon the expertise and insight of industry specialists to ensure they are of the highest standards and meet the needs not only of the sectors for which they have been developed but also the candidates who will eventually complete these awards.

“These new qualifications have been designed to offer health and social care practitioners the opportunity to broaden and deepen the skills and knowledge they require in their jobs and enhance their employability and career prospects.”

Donna Henderson, Service Development Manager, Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare, who lead the design team on the Telehealthcare PDA, said: “Telehealthcare is a term that covers a range of devices and services that harness developing technology to enable people to live with greater independence and safety in their own homes. It provides a technology-enabled and integrated approach to the delivery of effective, high-quality health and care services. It is particularly effective in reducing unscheduled admissions to hospital, and reducing the length of time spent in hospitals and care homes. It can also provide equitable services for people living in remote and rural locations and improve access to services.

“We’re particularly pleased to have worked on the first accredited award available in the UK, designed to develop and recognise the specific skills required by support staff in the telehealthcare sector, as well as promoting a high standard of telehealthcare service delivery.”

David Rennie, Workforce Consultant with Scottish Care, who convened the Promoting Excellence in Dementia Skilled Practice PDA design team, said: “In the context of an ageing population, supporting others who have dementia, their families and carers is becoming an increasingly valuable role in society. Many more people will be needed to work in this area and the award is welcomed as a means to improving the care and support provided. This new SQA qualification is also designed to contribute to meeting the registration requirements of the Scottish Social Services Council and provide continuous professional development for candidates.”

The Health and Social Care: Personalisation in Practice PDA equips candidates with the skills and understanding required to prepare for work with individuals and groups who require personalised support and care.

Laura Gillies, Senior Education and Workforce Development Adviser, from Scottish Social Services Council, said: “This award is designed to support a wide range of workers across the statutory, independent and third sectors to continue to develop their knowledge and skills. It reflects the principles that underpin a growing move to more personalised and tailored approaches to working with people. The approach involves being responsive to the sources of support people want for themselves, while living valued lives in their communities.”

Each of the three new awards is now available from approved centres in Scotland and plans are in place to make them available to the rest of the UK.

For more information on each of these awards and an overview of the rest of SQA’s portfolio of healthcare qualifications and awards, click here.

About the new qualifications:

  • Professional Development Award in Health and Social Care: Personalisation in Practice (SCQF lv 8) is aimed primarily at experienced healthcare practitioners who want to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of working with groups and individuals in a personalised way.
  • Professional Development Award in Promoting Excellence in Dementia Skilled Practice (SCQF lv 7) is aimed at learners working closely with people with dementia, their families and carers.
  • Professional Development Award in Telehealthcare (SCQF lv 6) is aimed at candidates who are experienced in telehealthcare service delivery but hold no formal qualifications related to their job.

Among the bodies working with SQA on the development and validation of the new qualifications were:

Alzheimer Scotland, Anniesland College, Antara Consulting, Barnardos Scotland, Beild Housing Association, The Care Inspectorate, City of Edinburgh Council, Crossreach, Enable, Fife Council, Four Seasons Health Care, Glasgow City Council, Inverclyde Council, James Watt College, Kilmarnock College, Middlesbrough Council, Motherwell College, NES, NHS Education For Scotland, Remote and Rural Health Education Alliance, Renfrewshire Council, Scotland’s Colleges, Scottish Care, Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability, Scottish Dementia Working Group, Scottish Social Services Council, Self-Directed Support Scotland, Skills for Health and Strathclyde University.