Victoria Hospital set to '˜grow its own' doctors at Health Academy

A new training course will see A level students working in Blackpool Victoria Hospital, it has been announced.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 9:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 9:52 am
The Health Academy will launch later this year

The Health Academy, one of the first of its kind, will launch in September in a bid to provide a long-term solution to the hospital’s staffing problems and give young people in the town a head start in their careers.

For one day a week, students will work in departments including nursing, medicine, allied health professions such as physiotherapy and podiatry, radiography, and biomedical sciences.

Tracy Burrell, the hospital’s assistant director of nursing and quality who is leading the programme, said: “It gives the students a chance to see what they can do in the health service, develop personal skills and hopefully reaffirm their chosen career pathway in the NHS. I wish I’d had an opportunity like this.”

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The initiative is being organised in partnership with St Mary’s Catholic College, which held an open event at its site in St Walburga’s Road from 6pm on Monday.

Staff from the hospital manned stalls, while director of nursing and quality Marie Thompson gave a talk to interested youngsters.

To be eligible for the scheme, they must get at least five GCSEs at C or equivalent, including grade four in English and maths. They must take three subjects at St Mary’s, including health and social care, applied science, biology, or chemistry, which they will study for four days a week.

Those who complete the course will get a care certificate qualification, which could lead to paid work.

For more details or to apply for the scheme, go online to


Hospital chiefs will hear at a meeting today that hopes to reduce staff vacancy rates to 2.5 per cent by 2021 are at risk.

Agenda documents blame that on a ‘failure to attract, recruit, and retain appropriately skilled staff’.

But bosses are working hard, scouring the globe to search for suitable staff, including in the Philippines.

They hope the Health Academy will give them a chance, in their own words, to ‘grow their own’ workforce of local people who fall in love with healthcare because of the scheme.

The hospital trust is also taking part in a ‘workforce retention’ programme, and has held recruitment events and teamed up several other trusts.