SQA supports the NHS in Scotland celebrating its 70th anniversary

The NHS has turned 70, and throughout the UK members of the public have been celebrating that milestone and offering their thanks to the thousands of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals and healthcare support workers, who have dedicated their careers to a national institution that touches the lives of millions of people across the country. The commitment and dedication of staff throughout the NHS has underpinned the service ever since it was launched in 1948. But with so many changes throughout society over the past seven decades, the service has had to constantly evolve to meet the demands of the communities it serves and continually improve the patient-centred care it offers. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has worked with the NHS in Scotland to ensure staff across the service have opportunities for further training and career progression, and are also well placed to prepare for and adapt to future healthcare challenges.

Of the courses, awards, and qualifications offered by SQA, many have been developed in partnership with key stakeholders within the NHS including individual health boards, NHS Education for Scotland, as well as those outwith the NHS, such as Scotland’s colleges, and universities.

SQA qualifications enable individual NHS boards to meet workforce planning challenges, and help staff – particularly Healthcare Support Workers (HCSWs), and assistant practitioners – to upskill and access career progression, or broaden their knowledge and experience to allow for wider deployment to meet particular strategic needs. One of the highlights of this partnership approach has been SQA’s Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Care and Administrative Practice.

Designed together with NHS Greater Glasgow and

Clyde and other stakeholders, the HNC in Care and Administrative Practice provides a route for HCSWs and administrators to prepare for future roles, either within the NHS, or other public services.

The qualification is useful to those staff seeking senior HCSW roles either in a clinical, or non-clinical setting, but is also useful to those people keen to begin a career with the health service. SQA has also developed a number of vocational qualifications that reflect the changing needs of NHS staff, and allow them to deliver care to patients across the community. SQA is currently working with NHS Lothian and Borders on a new award that will support HCSWs to deliver care in community settings. And while new qualifications are explored and developed, long-standing awards such as the Professional Development Award in Telehealthcare are being reviewed to ensure they remain up-to-date, and continue to meet the needs of the sector. SQA’s portfolio of qualifications offer opportunities

for staff across most sectors within the NHS in Scotland, including HCSWs, and staff in business and administration teams, estates and facilities services, pharmacy services, and in health and social care roles.

Louise Gaddi, Qualifications Manager at SQA, says:

“The range of qualifications SQA provides the NHS in Scotland is as broad as the number of services available to patients who rely on the NHS every day. Our successful partnership with the NHS ensures that the staff across the service have the opportunity to access robust, valuable qualifications, and the skills and knowledge they develop will help them to deliver high-quality, safe, effective and patient-centred care for years to come.”

For more information on SQA’s portfolio of NHS qualifications, visit

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