Hospital Non-Specialist Program (HNSP)
The Hospital Non-Specialist Program (HNSP) refers to the PGY3-5 cohort of doctors working in posts unaccredited for specialist training in NSW hospitals. It has evolved from the previous Hospital Skills Program (HSP). This cohort of doctors has historically worked long hours in public hospitals without any formal training and with variable support.
In 2018, the NSW Ministry of Health and the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) proposed that a more systematic approach to the support of PGY3-5 doctors in non-accredited posts was required to ensure that structured and relevant professional development would be provided. In 2019 it was agreed that a professional development plan (PDP) process would be developed, piloted and evaluated.
The PDP process aims to support doctors in a continuous cycle of improvement and learning through determining their current level of competence and performance, in addition to facilitating the identification and achievement of learning outcomes related to their specific needs and career plans. The PDP is developed and reviewed through regular meetings with a supervisor.
Professional Development Plan Pilot
Background to HNSP (formerly known as the Hospital Skills Program (HSP))
A review of emergency medicine training in NSW in 2005 found that there were 145 emergency departments in NSW, and only approximately 40 of them had emergency medicine specialists on staff. The remaining hospitals were staffed by other doctors including Career Medical Officers (CMOs), Multiskilled Medical Officers (MMOs), Senior Resident Medical Officers (PGY3+ doctors), GP-VMOs, hospitalists and long term locums.
The review also found that there was a great deal of concern about the training provided to this group of "non-specialist" doctors. Their level of skill and knowledge was dependent on their level of experience, their personal efforts to obtain training and education and the efforts of their employer to provide them with education and training. This often meant they were getting excellent training, however some were falling through the gap.
Development of the Hospital Skills Program began in 2006 to provide a structured program for doctors dedicated to the hospital system, and on whom the system relies. Reports were provided to the NSW Department of Health in June 2006 and March 2007.
On Thursday 15 November 2007 a media release from the then NSW Minister for Health, Reba Meagher, announced that funding will "be provided for the training networks to expand the number of ED professionals in rural and regional NSW. The package includes funding to up-skill non-specialist doctors." Funding was provided in January 2008, and the Hospital Skills Program began.
The Hospital Skills Program provided continuing professional development for 'non-specialist' doctors (SRMOs, CMOs, hospitalists, GP VMOs and others) working in NSW Health. The program used a variety of traditional and non-traditional resources and methods appropriate to the working environment of the participant, resulting in the acquisition of skills useful to an employer, and appropriate to the local patient community.