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East Lancashire Hospitals provides CQC level reporting within the NHS using Totara

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) was established in 2003 and is a large integrated health care organisation providing high quality acute secondary healthcare for the people of East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen. 

The Trust employs over 8,000 staff, some of whom are award-winning and internationally renowned for their work and achievements. They treat over 700,000 patients a year from the most serious of emergencies to planned operations and procedures. Their high-quality healthcare services are offered across five hospital sites, and various community sites.

The Challenge

Previous to using Totara, mandatory training had been completed via a workbook and DVD.  This could take the best part of a day to complete and included subjects which were not relevant for everyone’s job role.  Also, the only way of checking if a member of staff had completed the training was for each individual member of staff to send in a completion slip to the Learning & Development Administration Team for upload onto the legacy system.  

Numbers could not always be confirmed as sometimes the slips went ‘missing’ or were not sent back at all.  

Further to that, ELHT had signed up to using the NHS Statutory/Mandatory Core Skills Training Framework, which was launched in 2013.  The Trust needed a way to ensure staff were trained to a high standard and to reduce duplication of training.

In addition, the Trust needed a method to capture the training needs of new starters and to provide an online induction processes.

The Solution

Following a procurement process East Lancashire Hospitals contracted Chambury Learning Solutions to provide Totara Learn to enable them to set up the NHS Core Skills Training (CST) to make it easier for their staff to complete mandatory and statutory training and to provide accurate reporting to meet internal and external audit requirements.

East Lancashire NHS Trust Totara Learn

Working with the Trust's Subject Matter Experts, it was agreed that staff would complete each module of the Core Skills Framework, which for a large NHS Trust with approximately 8,500 staff, took some time.  

Once the information had been collated on who needed to complete what training and at what level, Audiences were built within Totara Learn with assistance from Chambury, and these were assigned to the newly created Certifications and Programmes. This resulted in staff having clear visibility about which training they needed to complete at the correct level for their job role. 

At the same time, the Trust decided to go live with as much e-Learning as possible which would allow staff to complete most of their ‘mandatory’ training online. The Trust authored local content in-house, and used this alongside some modules from the NHS centralised e-Learning for Healthcare (eLfH) AICC content (which can be set up easily within Totara Learn). 

In turn this meant that staff could update their training when it was more convenient to them, rather than doing it all at the same time, or cramming it in-between shifts, or attending lengthy classroom sessions. This has resulted in staff spending less time completing core training, completing it when it’s convenient, and therefore being able to raise the overall compliance.


Having developed the majority of e-Learning content in-house, and working with Chambury Learning Solutions to complete the set-up of the Audiences, Programmes and Certifications, it was agreed that the Trust would launch the CST programme on the 1st April 2016.

The Results

Since April 2016 the Trust has been able to run real time compliance reports from Totara Learn, each month informing the Trust Board of compliance/non-compliance percentages for all ‘mandatory’ training (now known as CST); prior to this the Trust could not run compliance reports easily and in real-time.

Reports are now available to all staff. Originally these were only sent to the managers, but staff and managers can now run their own 'real time' reports in seconds to see which staff are compliant and non-compliant. Managers can see detailed reports row-by-row for individual staff, have access to aggregated percentage reports, and colour coded graphical RAG reports.

ELHT results LMS

One of the best things about Totara Learn is that it sends out reminders to staff at 90, 60, and 30 days prior to a Certification becoming due, and again if they fail to complete and become overdue.  Staff didn’t have these prompts previously and it was easy for them to forget to complete their training. Managers are also copied into these notifications so they are fully aware. Staff say that this is one of the great benefits they now have.

The Trust was recently audited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who saw just how useful Totara Learn was in being able to demonstrate compliance; they asked for several reports from the system and the Education System Team were able to provide them within minutes, some in seconds! 

For the first time the Trust were able to show the CQC exactly what they wanted to see with regard to training data, and the CQC felt that this was proof of the Trust's progression in core training.

Proof that the Totara Learn was able to provide what the CQC requires.


Totara assists immensely with the weekly Corporate Induction, due to the fact that Induction now requires that when new employees go onto the Wards and Departments they are fully compliant with all their Statutory & Mandatory training, and much more of their 'Essential to Role' training than ever before; improving patient safety.

The Education System Team, who administrate Totara Learn, provide all new starters to the Trust with their username and password by Day 2 of the Corporate Staff Induction to ensure that all new staff have access Totara to enable them to be able to complete the training. The Corporate Staff Induction Team provide the instruction and support for them to complete what is required simply and easily.

ELHT onboarding Totara

Totara Learn really has made a difference to how staff at East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust complete a large proportion of their training. The feedback from them is that it is much easier for them to complete and no longer needs to be a full day training, which wasn’t interesting or enjoyable. 

East Lancashire Hospitals have had over 92% [10,434] of staff log into Totara to complete their learning, update their CPD and complete their appraisals in the last year. In the last 3 months almost 8,000 users have logged in proving that staff access the Totara based Learning Hub frequently as a ‘one stop shop’ for their formal learning and self-development.

“Totara has assisted the Trust immensely in launching a revised mandatory training programme in the form of Core Skills Training. 

As well as the system hosting both Core Skills e-Learning modules and Essential to Role learning resources, staff are now able to access their ‘Required Learning’ which provides them with a personalised list of the Core Skills Training modules which they need to complete, at the correct level and due date and importantly for staff sends them notifications so it helps them to remember to complete the modules in a timely manner. 

 Additionally, with our new Core Skills Training compliance reports and built-in Core Skills Training reminders for staff and their line managers, compliance has significantly improved over the last 12 months. 

In summary, Core Skills Training on the Totara system supports the Trust’s vision to provide safe, personal and effective care to all patients, families and staff”.

Education & Development Core & Essential Skills Training Manager, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Education & Development Business Support Manager, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust


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