Pioneering new Leeds Health and Care Academy takes international stage

Around 57,000 people who work in Leeds’ health and care sector are part of the pioneering new Leeds Health and Care Academy showcased in Washington DC in May.

In an unprecedented partnership approach by the UK’s third largest city, the Leeds Health and Care Academy is spearheading a new and shared way of thinking, learning and working together across the sector.

It is bringing together and transforming the learning and development for all who work in health and care. In doing so, it underpins the city’s aim to benefit citizens by create ‘one workforce’ across health and care.  

The city’s universities will help position the Academy at the forefront of learning, with a portfolio based on world-leading evidence, research and education.

The Academy is a groundbreaking project of Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP), one of the biggest of its kind in the UK. The LAHP founding partners include three Leeds universities, the city’s three NHS trusts, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and the City Council.

The LAHP is one of only two UK members of the Association of Academic Health Centers International. LAHP representatives were invited to present the Academy ambition and vision to its prestigious Global Issues Forum in Washington DC this week. This international conference brought together senior leaders in academia, healthcare and government relations to hear how its members around the world are enhancing health and care in sustainable ways.

The LAHP presentation included a dynamic short film, narrated by Yorkshire born and bred actor and Coronation Street star Joe Duttine.

The Leeds Health and Care Academy is not about creating one big organisation, but about working better and smarter together beyond organisational boundaries to give Leeds people a more seamless experience of health and care services.

The Leeds Health and Care Academy will help the city:

  • tackle current workforce challenges across all sectors
  • provide Leeds’ people with opportunities for work experience, apprenticeships and careers, with a focus on areas of highest deprivation, thereby supporting the city’s inclusive growth strategy
  • equip the health and care workforce for the future, keep pace with changing models of health and care, such as the impact of digitalisation and new technologies
  • offer a transformational experience of learning and working together, with a focus on the city and its people rather than on services and organisations
  • be agile in responding to its population’s health and care needs
  • implement its citywide health and care workforce strategy
  • attract talented people work in its health and care sector.

Ongoing advice and guidance from academic experts, those leading innovation in health and care practice, national policy and think tanks will help ensure the Academy’s portfolio remains in the vanguard of learning.

Academy Director Sheree Axon said: “This is a very exciting step for Leeds and for Leeds people. We don’t think any other city of our size, involving so many partners, has attempted such a comprehensive approach to transforming the culture, capacity and capability of its health and care workforce.

“As with any large scale ambition, we are starting by laying good foundations, such as improving support for people already in health and care roles and helping everyone understand the ‘one workforce’ approach.

“Technological developments are dramatically changing how we all work and it’s vital that our staff are equipped for this, not just to embrace the change, but to lead it with confidence, knowing they’re providing the very latest and best care possible.

“The issue of workforce shortages in this sector is a global one. We’re addressing this in Leeds by using the Academy to inspire and support more people into the diverse careers it offers. As well as talking to young people, we’re especially promoting these opportunities to those in our more deprived communities, to help reduce inequalities in our city.

“We also recognise the vital roles of volunteers, unpaid carers and those who work in care homes and that, to truly be the best city for health and wellbeing, we must transform our approach to learning, working and supporting each other.”