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Managing the Endoscopy Workforce Challenges Across a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP)

Monday 17th February 2020

Jason Speck, Senior Consultant from NECS Consultancy based in Yorkshire and Humber, provides his views on managing the endoscopy workforce challenges across a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

Filling the gaps in endoscopy workforce numbers need not be ‘mission impossible’.

Nationally, endoscopy, in common with many services, is facing massive challenges.  Demand is rising steeply.  Waiting lists are growing.  Nationally, around 9.4% of patients are waiting over 6 weeks for endoscopy procedures1.  These challenges are underpinned by the workforce challenge of attracting high quality staff and using staff flexibly across a system to meet demand. Developing a Fellowship programme, training nurse endoscopists and even sharing staff between providers can deliver significant benefits for health systems.

Endoscopy services are experiencing rising demand coupled with challenges in recruiting staff.  However, there are creative ways to attract, develop and retain high quality staff and these should be considered by systems in collaboration with providers.

Some providers such as Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are using Fellowship roles2 .  This can mean either attracting clinical trainees from the UK or qualified staff from abroad.  In this model, staff can be attracted by a mix of academic and clinical work for, typically, 12 months.  The Fellow still needs support from experienced staff but, critically, can take on additional clinical sessions.

In addition, nurse endoscopists can be trained from existing nursing staff. This has been successfully rolled out at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust3. The training is free, takes 7 months and comes with £15k compensation for Providers from Health Education England. This then allows trained nursing staff to undertake certain endoscopic sessions.  Again, this can give Providers additional capacity.

The NHS is also beginning to see a number of providers who use ‘Staff Passports’ to allow working across organisations.  This is an approach that South London Mental Health and Community Partnership have implemented4. This means that staff can be used in a flexible way to target additional capacity across a whole system.

These models can help to upskill and retain staff, add vital additional capacity which can be used to manage waiting lists and, most importantly, contribute to improving patient care.

NECS Consultancy can help you to develop practical solutions to your problems by using our experiences with past clients. Using staff creatively by developing both fellowship and nurse endoscopist models as well as using staff passports for sharing staff across a local network can increase capacity and deliver patient focused care.

Contact NECS Consultancy to understand how we have supported clients to think differently and develop new models of care. Find out more here:  NECS Consultancy



  1. NHS England. 2019. Monthly Diagnostic Data. [Accessed: January, 2020]. Available from URL:
  2. Kurien, M., Hopper, A., Lobo, A.J., et al. 2017. Sheffield Clinical Research Fellowship programme: A transferable model for UK gastroenterology. Frontline   [Online].Available from URL:
  3. Health Education England. [No date]. Clinical endoscopist training programme. [Accessed: January,2020]. Available from URL:
  4. NHS England. 2019. News: ‘NHS passports’ to help staff work flexibly and cut admin costs. [Accessed: January, 2020]. Available from URL: