Social Enterprise day – how we innovate to grow and retain talent in Cornwall

17th November, 2022

17 November marks Social Enterprise Day, part of Global Entrepreneurship Week which provides the opportunity for Kernow Health Community Interest Company (KHCIC) to reflect on two of its truly unique and innovative programmes of work to support GPs and Primary Care, at both a domestic and international level.

As a community interest company, Kernow Health reinvests any profits made back into the company to support GP practices across Cornwall.  As part of this support, KHCIC delivers the Cornwall Training Hub in partnership with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care System (CIOSICS).  The training hub aims to provide a responsive, innovative, and flexible work programme that supports Primary Care to recruit, develop and retain its workforce and respond to the changing health and care landscape.

As is the situation across the NHS, recruitment remains an ongoing challenge, and The Training Hub became aware of inequality of opportunity for international GP trainees to locum in the UK once qualified, due to constraints of the sponsorship system and visa requirements.  The current system limits international GPs to working in a single practice, therefore preventing them from gaining experience across multiple practices and finding one where they are best suited.

With Kernow Health being in the unique position of being owned by all practices in Cornwall who are also its shareholders, it enables KHCIC to offer an innovative approach to tackling this inequality. KHCIC can offer international GP trainees, once qualified, a unique contract whereby the GP is employed directly by KHCIC, enabling them to work in any of Cornwall’s 58 practices. By offering a flexible package including annualised hours and portfolio working the programme provides an exclusive opportunity for GPs to work as locums across several practices and gain experience in a variety of roles, while being able to meet their contractual visa salary threshold.

The Training Hub facilitates the employment arrangements to support the individual GP and works with NHS England to support the wider education and training programme.  With additional support post qualification Kernow Health aims to develop and retain local grown medical graduates in Cornwall and encourage those from elsewhere to look at this opportunity.

Developing and delivering innovative projects at KHCIC is dependent on collaboration and the ability to create robust relationships with partners. One such project which is the first of its kind and illustrates the benefits of collaborative working in growing talent involves a partnership with KHCIC, Health Education England (HEE) and all Integrated Care Systems (ICS) in the Southwest.  The project involves the funding and development of nine workforce planner apprenticeship roles, which will be integral to supporting the workforce planning agenda across health and care systems.

The apprentice programme which is funded for two years by HEE, will focus on developing the data and analytical capabilities of the post holders enabling them to collect, process and present data to inform decision-making relating to workforce issues, by pre-empting and predicting future workforce needs, gaps and trends.  The apprentices will develop a broad skillset using methods and tools that are widely recognised and transferable.

Once individuals successfully complete the level 4 apprenticeship programme, they will be equipped to pursue permanent roles. The role is intended to be a learning role and is designed to give the post-holder wide exposure to data analytics and a general informatics environment as they progress through the apprenticeship.

The apprentices are fully supported throughout with a three-month training plan, followed by a mentored placement in either a regional or Integrated Care Board Planning Team.

To find out more about the initiatives and opportunities on offer from The Cornwall Training Hub, visit our website:

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