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A health academy that aims to attract new skills and workers to the borough launched at Rochdale Football Club on Wednesday, 12th September, with the Mayor Councillor Mohammed Zaman lending his support.

The academy has been set up by Rochdale Health Alliance using funds from the borough’s transformation programme granted by NHS Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) and Rochdale Council.

The Heywood Middleton and Rochdale primary care academy will introduce apprenticeships, different roles and training in order to help address the issues of attracting and retaining GPs and other skilled health and care professionals to Rochdale.

Guests heard about plans to utilise the skills of paramedics, occupational therapists and physician associates who are training in the borough in a bid to avert a potential shortage of skilled staff in years to come.

Hopwood Hall College showcased their new opportunities for apprentices who may be attracted to working in the local health and care sector.

Dr Gill Tonge, is a GP in Middleton and a director of the new primary care academy. She said; 

‘This area offers amazing opportunities to gain skills and expertise for people who want to work in the NHS and primary care. The Academy has four main areas in its remit, growing our own be that nurturing the current generation or the next generation, educating and developing the current workforce further, developing new roles in primary care and improving leadership skills of our primary care workforce. These opportunities including new apprenticeships will be mutually beneficial for those who take them up as well as local patients who will receive enhanced care and services.”

Following a competition to design a logo for the academy, the Mayor presented prize winner, Olivia Carr from Middleton Technology School with her prize of shopping vouchers.

HMR CCG Primary Care Manager, Mr Shaju Ahmed spoke on behalf of commissioners at the event. He said;

“Rochdale Health Alliance has made great progress in setting up the academy and it already boasts useful partnerships that will lead to successful programmes. We are fortunate to have the experience and dedication of  Dawn O’Brien, the Academy Manager and Laura O’Brien the Academy Administrator in driving this forward. As commissioners we are committed to the continued investment and support into primary care to attract, recruit and retain a skilled work force to improve access to services locally.”

The academy is being hailed as a major step forward for primary care in Rochdale.  Kirsty Roberts, Workforce Lead for Primary Care at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said;

“We were honoured to be part of the launch of the primary care academy. The academy is such a fantastic opportunity for Rochdale and shows the commitment to developing the primary care workforce. This will help to secure the workforce of the future and ultimately deliver better outcomes for patients.”

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