SOUTHAMPTON hospitals have secured a £1.9m government grant to help set up training centres for health workers nationwide.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has awarded the cash to the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Health, which is working with staff at the city's teaching hospitals on the new training hubs.

It will be used for a three-year-plan to create an initial six centres that will be based at existing healthcare organisations and will help people learn new skills, retrain and or start a career in clinical or non-clinical roles.

Anita Esser, head of wider healthcare teams education at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Southampton General and Princess Anne hospitals, said: “We are really pleased to be working with NSA Health on this exciting project to set up excellence centres.

“The Trust already has a good reputation for offering training and career development for our healthcare support staff who work both directly with patients and in essential services behind-the-scenes.

“We now want to help ensure all NHS support staff have access to the development resources they need and excellence centres will provide an ideal way to work with partners to make this happen.”

Candace Miller, director of the NSA Health, added: “We're delighted to have been awarded investment funding for such a unique “on-the-ground” project which will make a real difference to the quality of training that can be accessed regionally for healthcare support workers.

“I would especially like to thank University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust for the leading role they have played and look forward to working collaboratively on the establishment of the centres.”

The first step is a questionnaire of 12,000 healthcare workers across England to establish the training needs.

Some of the funding will also be used to develop online e-learning courses.

UHS already works with a number of local training organisations including Southampton Solent University where it has helped set up health, social care and administration degrees.