Education and training on advanced therapies in the NHS
Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) have the potential to address significant and growing unmet healthcare needs. These treatments offer exciting therapeutic and potentially curative options for diseases which cannot be addressed adequately by existing pharmaceuticals. The UK is at the leading edge of this disruptive field and there is an opportunity to build a large-scale industry delivering health and wealth to the country. Currently in the UK, there is no coordinated education and training programme on advanced therapies available to existing NHS staff, despite the rapid pace with which new therapies are becoming available. ATMPs are complex treatments, requiring innovative ways of working, and new knowledge and skills, for the many staff groups involved in their clinical delivery. These therapies also present urgent learning needs for the wider healthcare community and for teams responsible for clinical education and training
Contributions from a network of subject matter experts have guided the development of a structured syllabus intended to provide healthcare professionals with the required underpinning knowledge and awareness of ATMPs to supplement further product-specific and practical training in the workplace.
- Training packages produced by NHSBT are two of the most frequently downloaded resources on the ATTC network website and have been implemented at several face-to-face training sessions, generating positive feedback.
- An animated video on transporting advanced therapies was produced by NHSBT in collaboration with World Courier. The video is primarily aimed at logistics personnel but is accessible for anyone requiring a brief introduction to the advanced therapy supply chain. This video has also been widely used across the ATTC network.
- Findings from a training needs analysis survey were summarised in a report co-written by NHSBT and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.
- An introductory training workshop was successfully piloted by Aston University in conjunction with MW-ATTC and future courses and training packages are planned.
- A short video has been produced to communicate a patient’s experience of receiving CAR-T cell therapy.
- Training is being created for research nurses to explain processes involved in collecting starting material for the manufacture of advanced therapies. This will be supplemented by a workbook to provide structured learning objectives for visiting an apheresis unit.
- An e-learning package and exemplar risk assessments are being developed on the safe use of dry shippers and dry ice.
- A competency assessment framework is being developed to record and measure successful staff training.
Making further impact
The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult are coordinating the development of education and training across the ATTCs and London Advanced Therapies network. A series of e-learning modules are being developed by a team working collaboratively across the network, with an in-built programme of review and testing by clinical experts and end users to ensure quality assurance of training content. The outputs of this joint approach will be made widely accessible to the UK health and social care workforce via Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare hub. This learning platform is an authoritative and trusted source, supporting our standardised, national approach that will equip NHS staff with theoretical knowledge and awareness to complement their practical training in the workplace.