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The trials and tribulations of setting up a development worker post at the University of Huddersfield

By Lisa J. Ward and Christine Rhodes


In his report, ‘High Quality Care For All’, Professor Lord Darzi talks of his dedication\ud to ‘improvingly continuously the quality of care’, ‘personalised care’ and ‘creating\ud new partnerships between the NHS, Universities and Industry’. These, and many\ud other challenges faced by the 21st Century NHS are strongly supported by the\ud involvement of Service Users and Carers (SU&C) in both the initial education and\ud continuous professional development of health and social care professionals. This\ud paper will explain how SU&C involvement is becoming embedded at the University\ud with the creation of a development worker post.\ud At the University of Huddersfield, Teaching, Learning and pedagogy has had a high\ud profile; alongside this courses for health and social care professionals have always\ud had strong elements of work based learning; and now there is the additional need to\ud look at the ‘customer’ dimension by embedding the involvement of SU&C’s in\ud education.\ud SU&C’s have been involved in courses at Huddersfield for a number of years, with\ud initial work limited to small group of enthusiasts working independently primarily in\ud Social Work and Mental Health. The ALPS (Assessment and Learning in Practice\ud Settings) CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) provided the\ud opportunity to support and pump prime work in this area by supporting a 2 year parttime\ud secondment for an academic project lead.\ud Throughout the ongoing secondment the Academic Lead spent time identifying what\ud needed doing, and mapping existing process and potential projects. It soon became\ud apparent that there was much work to be done with limited time and resources. In\ud particular to provide the support that SU&C’s, Academics and partners needs can\ud be time consuming. But to not do it properly verges upon ‘tokenism’ and can have\ud negative impact for those involved. The academic lead was convinced that to really\ud make a success of SU&C involvement, a development worker post needed to be\ud 95\ud created. This was supported by evidence from the Nursing and Midwifery Council\ud QA Audit of April 2009, ‘Outstanding in Service User and Carer Involvement’ and\ud the external validation of the new nursing curriculum in September, 2008 also\ud described as ‘outstanding’ in this field.\ud This paper will discuss the complex process followed in order to secure the post and\ud outline some of the challenges that the Development Worker found in the early\ud months of the post

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