Project Overview - Supported Project Sue Ryder Care Peterborough

Thorpe Hall Hospice - a part of Sue Ryder Care - in Peterborough, is launching a £6m appeal for a new in-patient unit (IPU) and reconfiguration of some older buildings to enable the highest standards of care to the population it serves. Building on the organisation’s achievement, care and support service staff need to be ready with the right structures, skills and establishment for the new in-patient service within the new build. Looking at the skills the required service will need and planning for implementation, will require a systematic change management approach. On average, workforce costs represent approximately 60-70% of total health sector spend, therefore having the ‘right people with the right skills at the right time’ is vital in ensuring money is spent wisely and that individuals receive the highest standards of care. Skills for Health as the Sector Skills Council for the health sector have a variety of programmes, tools and resources to develop capability and capacity in workforce planning and development skills which prompt organisations to analyse the workforce implications of major service change and develop a workforce plan that meets the challenges of the future. An initial application was made by Philip Ball from Thorpe Hall Hospice for Skills for Health support as part of the EIF2 supported projects work. Following that application further discussions were held and a piece of work was agreed. 

Skills for Health have designed and developed a series of workshops for individuals at Thorpe Hall Hospice who require a comprehensive level of knowledge and understanding of workforce planning and change management. The workshops include a mixture of theory as well as practical hands on work with a variety of workforce planning tools. The programme, five days in duration, is being delivered over a period of several months.  The approach allows individuals the opportunity to reflect on activity undertaken in the workshop and to undertake further work required for the next workshop. The primary outcome from this programme is for individuals attending to be able to produce a workforce plan for the new unit and in the longer term, apply the knowledge and skills acquired to the development of further workforce plans as needed.

Skills for Health, as well as delivering the ‘learning’ component of the programme, also provide consultancy support to the development of the workforce plan. This takes place during practical activities during the workshops. Additionally the project lead for this work within Thorpe Hall Hospice is able to access further support from Skills for Health via a series of follow-up telephone sessions. 

The programme aims to give individuals the following:

• A detailed conceptual understanding of the Six Steps methodology; Skills for Health’s internationally recognised approach to successful integrated workforce planning.

• Understanding of the interplaying relationship between workforce planning and change management

• Knowledge and understanding of workforce data and how it can support the workforce planning process

• Knowledge and understanding of how Skills for Health’s tools and resources can facilitate the development of workforce plans and how to use them at a local level

• The ability to develop a robust workforce plan (including an action plan for implementation)


The primary outcome of this work is to increase the level of competence of workforce planning and change management at Thorpe Hall Hospice by developing a number of individuals who are capable of developing and implementing integrated workforce plans. To ensure the programme is realising that goal, a baseline assessment of individuals’ competence was measured using Skills for Health’s self-assessment tool, utilising an appropriate suite of pertinent National Occupational Standards. At the end of the programme a similar exercise will be undertaken to measure the increase in knowledge attainment and skills utilisation.
The project will also see the development of a workforce plan for the new unit and a comprehensive implementation plan. On the completion of this work, Skills for Health will meet with the project lead to offer advice and support on any follow up work required as well as discuss how this approach could be widened out to Sue Ryder care across the UK.

Andrew Lovegrove
November 2013


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