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What is it?

The purpose of this day will be to develop a skills pathway map for the enabling of a future ready workforce that is able to deliver advanced therapies across Wales. This will be informed by attendees who will facilitate knowledge gathering regarding the current status within Wales and inform strategic direction regarding future workforce planning, whilst linking to wider UK-level programmes and initiatives (including the pan-UK Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre initiative).

This workshop will enable develop an understanding of sector workforce requirements from the perspectives of both therapy and healthcare provides; need and appetite for development of training (and re-training) activities including accredited CPD and apprenticeship development; and, and understanding of how key infrastructures, including Health Education and Improvement Wales [HEIW], can enable delivery of this work.

Where is it?

Copthorne Hotel, Copthorne Way, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff, CF5 6DH

How do I book?

This will be an opportunity to bring together workforce-development and sector experts to establish an understanding of the necessary workforce requirements needed to enable the effective and equitable delivery of services capable of administering Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) in Wales, in accordance to the intentions outlined in the Welsh Government’s Statement of Intent for Advanced Therapies.

As there are limited spaces available could you please indicate your desire to attend by responding to WBS.CellTherapy@wales.nhs.uk, and as such a full invitation with paper pack and pre-reading can be disseminated.

What is the context?

Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), which include cell and gene therapies have huge potential to save, or improve, the lives of patients suffering from a range of chronic, rare, incurable and lifestyle-related diseases, like cancer or diabetes.  They offer hope and positive, durable, or even curative patient outcomes, to conditions that have proven resistant to other highest standards of care.  These therapeutic approaches are based upon using and enhancing the body’s natural defence and repair mechanisms to address disease and tissue damage (cell therapies), or correcting the results of genetic defects (gene therapies). These new therapeutic approaches are set to revolutionise medicine and are part of the solution to the ever increasing pressure upon healthcare providers.

On April 9th 2019 the Minister for Health & Social Services published the Statement of Intent for Advanced Therapies outlining the Welsh Government’s ambition to develop a connected and collaborative approach towards delivering ATMPs to the people of Wales. To enable this a team was established within Velindre University NHS Trust to create a National Programme for Advanced Therapies.

A staggered and phrased approach will be necessary to ensure a sustainable and adequate NHS and non-NHS workforce develops within Wales to support this sector as it matures. Commercial requirements will orientate around the moving from a highly trained and highly technically skilled workforce to one being technician-led as processes become automated and mainstream, supported by industry-informed apprenticeship building initiatives. The NHS workforce is currently challenged as there is a limited pool of staff with necessary experience and skill sets to deliver ATMPs. There is a requirement for a phased plan to

bring through sustainable staff at all levels (e.g. junior clinician to Consultant). Significant gaps in skills, competencies and experience anticipated across all staff interacting with core treatment pathways. Therefore is a requirement for general ATMP introduction / awareness-raising activities with specific function training on a case-by-case basis.

As these treatments evolve and mature, so too will the modes and complexity of delivery. Workforce requirements will evolve and reiterate as technologies and levels of availability develop, and as such phased and long-term plans will need to be developed to reflect this. The sector will require development of new skills, retraining of current staff, and consideration of numbers and skills-mix at all levels of sector employment from apprenticeships to postdoctoral.

It will be critical to ensure that appropriately-trained people are delivering these products within a compliant environment, in accordance with internationally recognised standards of quality and safety.  This will be facilitated thorough mapping of ATMP-related public, commercial and academic sector workforce requirements, anticipating phased and regionalised adoption and deployment, and by working with organisations such as HEIW / Life Sciences Hub Wales / Welsh Government [Department for Education and Skills] / Universities / Apprenticeship developers.