Connecting for Health has announced two new additions to its Education, Training and Development (ETD) series, to be launched next month.

The agency will be introducing the Essential IT Skills (EITS) Programme on 3 March to replace its European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) service, which is due to close on 21 March.

The EITS Programme will give NHS staff the opportunity to train for two qualifications nationally accredited by the British Computer Society.

Candidates will be able to learn in a classroom with a tutor, or at home, using computer based learning materials. CfH says the training has been designed to be fun and interactive, and can be completed in a matter of days.

The training will help users feel more confident when using National Programme for IT (NPfIT) applications in their daily working lives, it adds.

Replacement of the ECDL Service comes after consultation with stakeholders around what the current training needs of NHS staff are.

Since its launch in 2002, there have been 220,000 user registrations on the portal, 117,000 learning materials issued and 320,000 online tests taken. CfH has distributed 38,000 BCS Level 1 certificates, 52,000 ECDL certificates and 10,000 BCS Level 2 certificates.

The two new qualifications available will be NHS ELITE (eLearning IT Essentials), which trains staff on basic keyboard and mouse skills as well as file management, web and email skills and NHS Health (eLearning for Health Information Systems), which gives staff the training they need to ensure that they comply with information governance, data protection and patient confidentiality requirements.

Lisa Roberts, an IT Trainer at Calderstones NHS Trust said: “ELITE will benefit employees that haven’t been able to take advantage of ECDL, and will prepare them for using our other computer systems such as the virtual learning environment and electronic patient record systems.”

In addition to EITS, CfH is collaboration with the Department of Health, to support the deployment of a new NHS National Learning Management System (NLMS), linked to the Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

NLMS will offer education and training on the ESR online, enabling CfH to support the deployment and upgrade of NPfIT applications and services to the NHS by offering e-learning resources to any NHS user.

Linking the NLMS to the ESR will make it possible for anyone with an ESR profile to access the e-learning resources and programmes that are offered at a national level.

Successful completion of these programmes will be recorded on the individual learning records of NHS staff.

If staff have previously undertaken e-learning using a different system, it will also be possible for that learning to be recorded on their individual learning records.

Dr Philip Candy, national director of ETD for CfH, said: “This represents an important development for everyone working within the NHS. It will allow NHS staff to indicate their training needs, to undertake e-learning at their own convenience, and to maintain a portable record of that learning throughout their careers”.

CfH say the new arrangements will not only save the NHS considerable amounts of money, time and resources by reducing duplication, but will also make it much easier for NHS staff to access a wider range of online learning opportunities and to maintain a record of their learning.

Dr Candy added: “We look forward to working closely with colleagues in the ESR project team to deploy this enhanced functionality across the NHS and supporting chief executives and chief information officers who have the responsibility for ensuring that the local infrastructure and capacity exists to support end users.

“And of course we will continue to support ETD practitioners across the NHS in the delivery of training and development that supports high-quality patient-led healthcare.”


ESR website

NHS CFH Education, Training & Development


Joe Fernandez