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Values-based recruitment and the NHS Constitution: Making sure student midwives meet the brief

02 November 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 11


Since publication of the findings from the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (Francis, 2013), which identified levels of substandard care and failings from staff in exhibiting core values such as care and compassion, it became evident that improvements in levels of care were needed. In response, Health Education England (2014) published its national values-based recruitment (VBR) framework to encourage higher education institutions to complement their existing recruitment processes with VBR, to ensure applicants to undergraduate health-care programmes, such as midwifery, demonstrate values aligning with the principles of the NHS Constitution (Department of Health, 2015). This article will discuss how the University of Northampton piloted the integration of the VBR framework into its interview process through adopting a multiple mini interview approach.

This article will discuss values-based recruitment (VBR) in the context of the selection and recruitment of student midwives to a 3-year undergraduate midwifery programme and discuss how the qualities of compassion, the ability to work with others, the ability to demonstrate a commitment to quality of care, valuing the individual, an understanding of the importance of respect and dignity, and a pledge to improve lives can be identified by this process (Department of Health (DH), 2015).

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It sets out the rights to which patients, the public and staff are entitled, and the pledges that the NHS is committed to achieving, together with responsibilities that the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively (DH, 2015).

VBR is defined by Health Education England (HEE) as an approach which attracts and recruits students, trainees and employees on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution, alongside their skills and aptitude (HEE, 2015). Every higher education institution (HEI) has its own recruitment strategy; however, in 2014, the DH tasked HEE with implementing VBR in the selection of students for all undergraduate health-care programmes (Miller and Bird, 2014). The evidence assimilated by HEE (2015) in relation to what VBR can offer HEIs delivering undergraduate health programmes, suggests that a standardised approach to recruitment should be adopted, while still allowing enough flexibility for individual innovation in its implementation across different institutions.

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