NHS staff sent on training courses ‘a child could do’ as waiting lists grow
NHS consultants are being made to complete tick-box training ‘an eightyear-old could do’ while patients languish on waiting lists, MPs have heard.
NHS leaders were grilled on why staff in times of crisis are being sent on mandatory training courses, such as on computer and fire safety.
Dr Caroline Johnson, an MP who was a health minister during Liz Truss’s brief premiership, said she has had to do 9 mandatory training programmes – some annually.
At yesterday’s Commons health committee meeting, the consultant paediatrician questioned whether this was a good use of her time when the waiting list had reached 7.7million.
She explained: ‘We will be asked things like “What must you do if you receive a phishing email? Choose the correct option: reply, open the attachments, forward it to your colleagues or follow your organisation’s procedures?”
‘Another question we have received: “It is important to lock your computer or mobile device when you’re not using it, true or false?” There are consultants doing these training programmes. I read them to my eight-year-old and he could answer them.’
Other examples included videos on petrol being poured on a bonfire and whether defibrillator pads placed on the abdomen were ‘in the right place’.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, said there was clearly ‘a balance to be struck’, adding: ‘We can discuss the quality of the questions and how it is delivered, but I don’t think anybody would disagree that cybersecurity is one of the greatest risks that we face within the NHS and of course wider public bodies.
‘So ensuring that staff are aware of some of the risks around cybersecurity, I think, is perfectly legitimate and I think it is correct that that is part of mandatory training.’
Meanwhile, Amanda Pritchard, NHS England’s chief executive, said the waiting list would have fallen substantially had it not been for a series of strikes by medics. More than a million patient appointments have been rescheduled as a consequence of industrial action.
Ms Pritchard added: ‘It is patients that are bearing the brunt of this.’