Introduction and background
In February 2021 NHS England commissioned Skills for Health to lead the development of a national capabilities framework for Forensic Examiners in England, undertaking paediatric forensic examinations. The framework will identify and describe the professional knowledge, skills and behaviours required to deliver high quality, compassionate care and support, and will help to inform standards of education and training. The framework is expected to be completed, signed off and launched by early 2022 with a view to being incorporated into service specifications and contracting requirements.
Purpose and scope of the framework
The framework will be applicable to those undertaking forensic examinations of children and young people over the age of 13, although this lower age parameter is still being discussed.
An appropriately trained workforce with the required knowledge and skills to support and improve the health outcomes of victims and survivors of sexual assault is critical to ensuring that individuals have timely access to the services they need. Good access to services is predicated on the effective development and utilisation of the workforce’s skills, and helps to strengthen the integration of health, care, and justice systems, essential in navigating a complex and fragmented landscape. Accordingly, a nationally agreed capability framework for Forensic Examiners will not only ensure consistency in the training required and quality of forensic examinations, but will also help to ensure the sustainability of the workforce.
Development of the framework
Skills for Health has been commissioned to provide project management and lead on the development of the Capabilities Framework.
We will establish a steering group to guide the development process and provide specialist clinical expertise. The steering group membership will include multi-professional representation from key stakeholder organisations (e.g. HEIs, professional bodies, royal colleges, employers, etc). To ensure the patient voice is represented, the process is co-produced, and a trauma informed approach adopted. We will seek representation from young people/service users with relevant lived experience.
Initial development will include desk research to identify/review existing source documents (e.g. qualifications, frameworks, guidance, etc) and to map an outline structure for the framework.
To optimise and broaden opportunities for input from all stakeholders there will also be a Reference Group which will include a wider range of organisations and individuals wishing to be kept up-dated on the development of the framework and to provide comments and feedback as part of a consultation process.