Headlines: August 1st, 2003

A comprehensive new information service has been launched as part of the drive to recruit new social care workers and to train those already in the profession. It will provide information on career options and details of training requirements.The new service has been developed to build on the existing recruitment telephone helpline. Telephone answering staff will be provided with material from the General Social Care Council and TopssEngland, the employers’ organisation for social services. This will help them to answer questions on approved social work courses and what financial assistance is available to students.

The plan is to expand the service still further and it will cover health as well as social care by April next year. The service – available on 0845 604 6404 will take calls from 8am to 10pm

Meanwhile a second initiative has been launched to make NHS staff more aware of the opportunities available for working on overseas humanitarian projects. A Department of Health toolkit, “International Humanitarian and Health Work: Toolkit to Support Good Practice” shows the benefits that such work can bring to the service and its patients and to staff professional development.

It contains information and best practice advice for both individuals and employers and is designed to provide an understanding of the opportunities available and the skills needed. Case studies of staff already involved in overseas projects have also been produced. The toolkit and case studies are at www.doh.gov.uk/internationalhumanitarianandhealthwork