Alcohol IBA e-learning programme developed by Public Health England and Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare.

We often think of alcohol misuse in terms of dependence and the conditions associated with heavy drinking like liver disease and pancreatitis. But, as last year’s Chief Medical Officers’ new guidance indicated, lower levels of alcohol misuse can contribute to a wide range of conditions not so readily associated with alcohol. Is it therefore worth considering how alcohol could be affecting the health of a wider range of patients and not just heavy drinkers?

The guidance indicates that regular consumption of more than 14 units of alcohol a week significantly raises the risk of ill health for adults. In fact, the risk of some cancers, including breast cancer, starts to increase with regular consumption of any alcohol.

Obviously, most people don’t knowingly want to take risks with their long-term health. The majority of patients who regularly drink over 14 units are probably unaware of the level of risk from their alcohol consumption. But, there are quick, effective screening tools available to health professionals to assess a patients risk from alcohol use and strong evidence that spending less than five minutes making people aware of that risk can persuade them to drink less.

Identifying those at risk and alerting them to the risk, known as alcohol identification and brief advice (IBA), has been researched extensively over the last 35 years. The overwhelming conclusion is that the practice can reduce weekly drinking across the patient cohort by up to 34% (between 3 to 9 units per week). This will reduce relative risk of alcohol-related conditions by c14%, and absolute risk of lifetime alcohol-related death by c20%.”. IBA can take less than 5 minutes and surveys have found that patients expect and are accepting of health practitioners asking about their alcohol use. NICE guidance recommends that all health professionals carry out IBA as an integral part of routine practice.

NICE guidance also recommends alcohol screening and advice for hypertensive patients – 35% of hypertension cases among men and 15% among women are alcohol-related[i]. Reducing alcohol consumption reduces the blood pressure of hypertensive people and alcohol-induced hypertension resolves within two to four weeks of abstinence (or substantial reduction)[ii].

IBA might be done at key opportunities with all patients, or targeted at particular at-risk groups. There are numerous opportunities to address alcohol consumption, such as when patients register with a GP or when reviewing medication. The NHS Health Check also includes an alcohol risk assessment and advice to those at risk and, in 2017-19, a CQUIN scheme will incentivise alcohol IBA and very brief advice on smoking for all inpatients in secondary care.

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) has therefore worked with Public Health England to produce e-learning sessions to support delivery of IBA. Courses take less than an hour to complete and give health staff understanding of the tools and techniques for delivering effective IBA.

For more information about e-LfH visit

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore MD, DL, FRCP

Chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance UK

University of Liverpool.

Scheduled downtime for e-Learning for Healthcare – Thursday 13 July 2017, 8.45am

Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) has scheduled a period of downtime across its systems on Thursday 13 July 2017.  The downtime is to enable the system servers to be reorganised to improve the disaster recovery facilities which are designed to protect data and services in the unlikely event of a system failure.

The following e-Learning for Healthcare systems will be unavailable for a maximum period of one hour on Thursday 13 July 2017 commencing at 8:45am:

Please be aware that the following additional e-LfH services will also be unavailable:

  • AICC remote launching of e-LfH sessions
  • ESR remote launching of e-LfH sessions.

Apologies for any inconvenience this short period of downtime may cause.

If you have any concerns or questions about this downtime please email:

Please share this notification with colleagues who may be affected.

For regular updates about e-LfH content please follow us on Twitter: @HEE_TEL

Best regards
e-Learning for Healthcare Support Team

HEE e-LfH device RGB





How “Prescribe” came to be

The ‘Prescribe: Clinical pharmacology and prescribing’ e-learning programme has recently been launched for which I am an author and senior editor.

I became involved in healthcare education in my role as consultant pharmacist in academic pharmacy practice at a UK teaching hospital.  In conjunction with a nurse colleague, I developed an accredited course for pharmacist and nurse prescribers for a higher education institution in 2004.  I also contributed to the development of a competence framework for non-medical prescribers and trained as an independent prescriber myself.  Experienced practitioners began to question whether there was an equivalent course and competence framework for medical prescribers since all prescribers should work to the same standards of practice.

I conducted an audit of prescribing quality by doctors within the hospital against the local standards for good prescribing.  This looked at practical aspects of prescribing such as:

  • clear and legible writing of prescriptions;
  • the use of inappropriate abbreviations of drug names and dose units;
  • bioequivalent dosage of drugs prescribed by multiple routes of administration;
  • provision of legible prescriber details including name and contact number;
  • the correct method of cancelling and amending prescriptions.

The outcomes of this audit linked with the investigation of prescribing errors reported to the medication safety committee led to collaboration with the local medical school and the subsequent setting up of a prescribing course for final year medical students.  Students were required to demonstrate practical prescribing by writing a range of ‘student’ drug charts for patients they had encountered (based on real drug charts but altered so they couldn’t be used for drug administration to the patient).  This included the prescribing of high-risk drugs including insulins and treatment anticoagulation.  There was also an open-book summative examination looking at other practical aspects of prescribing such as calculation skills and interpretation of information found in the British National Formulary (BNF).  A formative drug chart assessment continues to this day, although the examination has been replaced by the national Prescribing Skills Assessment (PSA).

In 2012 I was approached about authoring several topics for ‘Prescribe’ in conjunction with Professor Simon Maxwell.  I wrote several sessions on topics such as how to write a hospital drug chart, calculation skills, intravenous fluid therapy and how to use the BNF.  Unforeseen problems delayed publication and launch of the course at that time.  In April 2016 I was approached to see if I was interested in working with the course team again.  This great team of people all collaborated to achieving the goal of launching the course at the British Pharmaceutical Society (BPS) conference in December.   I was able to update my original sessions and contribute to the editing of many more.  It was amazing just how much practice had moved on during the intervening years.  For example, we now have the electronic BNF (e-BNF) and electronic prescribing, both of which impact dramatically on prescribing practice.

‘Prescribe’ should help medical students to prepare for the PSA.  It is a resource that will support both medical students and junior doctors as they prepare for and gain experience in practical prescribing.

I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute to this initiative.  It has the potential to impact significantly on patient care and reduce the risk of harm arising from prescribing errors.

We will continue to review, update and develop the course.  We would love to hear your feedback – whether you found the course useful, any ideas you may have for new topics and, of course, any suggestions for improving what is already available.

To access the e-learning programme click here.

Alison G Eggleton
Consultant Pharmacist in Academic Pharmacy Practice

A Spare 20 minutes – End of Life Care for All (e-ELCA)

I was recently told that my blog, published in September for the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC), was number eight in ‘most viewed in 2016’ list.  Why was this I wonder?

Did the informal style draw potential users in? Waiting for a meeting?  Travelling on a train?  A spare 20 minutes before lunch? Why not open an e-ELCA e-learning session and learn something new?

Of course, members of the EAPC will think end of life care important, but was it the information about accessing on-line learning that was of prime interest to them especially those in Europe who can access the amazing content of over 160 sessions through purchase via e-Integrity?

Was it the Twitter sphere? @Cmf_elca doesn’t have a great following but those that follow me have a huge network across health and social care communities.  Did those six retweets make a difference I wonder?

I’m not sure whether these were the key factors but I do know that the value of e-ELCA to teachers and learners seems to be increasing and the launch and completion of session data has shown dramatic rises in the past 18 months.  Two factors are very definitely key to this.  Firstly support from e-LFH on developing a targeted marketing and communications plan.   This has included attending many national and regional conferences, handing out leaflets contributions to workshops and poster presentations.

We have also helped users navigate the programme to find the sessions that support their learning needs.  Unlike some other programmes e-ELCA is not targeted at a single audience or a single curriculum.  It has content that is designed to address the core competences required by the health and social care workforce in providing high quality end of life care, but what a care worker needs to know is quite different to what a GP trainee may need.  Our learning paths have become an important feature to help users find the sessions they need and these continue to develop.  Some learning paths are to support individual Trusts (for example the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) learning paths for doctors, end of life care facilitators and for other healthcare professionals) some are focused on staff groups (for example priorities for care of the dying person for nurses) and some support defined curriculum such as the NVQ levels 2,3 & 5

Many specialists in palliative care are using the sessions within their teaching. For example for a course about advance care planning (ACP) Introduction to Principles of Advance Care Planning may be used to bring course participants to a common level before attending a study day. This ACP course might also make use of  e-ELCA material for discussion within a group (for example How to Negotiate Decisions Which May be Difficult to Implement)  and perhaps as a way to consolidate or further learning (for example Developing Your Practice: Clinical Supervision and Further Reading).

There are tips about how e-ELCA can motivate and engage learners on the e-ELCA website.  My newest venture to help learners and educators make best use of this amazing, free resource is a YouTube channel (a work in progress!)

The e-ELCA session that is my personal favorite is Spirituality and Philosophy of End of Life Care.  It’s a session that makes me think and reflect even after over 25 years of supporting people who are dying. The importance of the holistic approach to people in finding themselves, is so beautifully articulated through a patient video.  A good way to spend those 20 minutes!

Professor Christina Faull
Consultant in Palliative Medicine
LOROS Hospice, Leicester, UK
Association for Palliative Medicine National Clinical Lead for e-ELCA
YouTube e-ELCA

Learning resources promoting integration of physical and mental health launched

Health Education England has worked with UCLPartners and NHS mental and physical health experts to develop a suite of educational material for use across primary and secondary NHS health settings.

“Breaking Down the Barriers” aims to support education across the NHS workforce by providing the training materials to enhance existing skills, increase knowledge for early recognition, assessment, management and signposting of mental and physical health needs of patients.

A key aim of this work is to facilitate and encourage collaborative working and the sharing of resources and training delivery arrangement between NHS Trusts. The education and training materials cover the following areas:

  • Mental Health awareness in emergency and urgent care settings
  • Physical Health awareness in mental health settings
  • Child and Adolescent mental health awareness training for GP practices in primary care
  • Child and Adolescent learning disabilities awareness training for GP practices in primary care

The resources are a combination of classroom training, videos, simulation training, presentations, case based scenarios, case studies, tutorials and quizzes.

Breaking Down the Barriers awareness training packages and associated materials are available as a free downloadable resource from HEE e-Learning for Healthcare for use across primary and secondary care settings.

To access the resources please click here.

Award win for NHS e-learning programme

learning-pool-award-240x160Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) programme picked up the “Best Adapt Project” award at the Learning Pool 2016 awards.

Adapt is an open source authoring tool for creating fully responsive, multi-device, HTML5 e-learning content and Learning Pool are one of the organisations behind the open source project. The award was given in recognition of the way the authoring tool has been used in HEE e-LfH’s MindEd for Families e-learning resource.

The “Best Adapt Project” judges were looking for evidence that the project is innovative and original and that the interactivity is used to reinforce learning. e-LfH certainly achieved this; pushing the limits of what can be done with Adapt and creating a comprehensive, graphically rich suite of resources of the highest quality. The team also used an innovative co-authoring model where parents and clinicians collaborated on each session along with e-LfH’s instructional designers.

HEE e-LfH’s MindEd for Families programme is aimed at parents and carers of children and young people who suffer from poor mental health. It was developed in partnership with a consortium to ensure this sensitive subject was handled appropriately and accurately, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners, Young Minds, the National Children’s Bureau, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It also put parents at the heart of the authoring process to ensure that their views were represented and the output was right for them as the ultimate users of the content.

Commenting on HEE e-LfH’s recent win, Martin Sinclair, e-LfH Programme Lead, said: “HEE e-LfH is delighted to receive a Learning Pool award for the MindEd for Families programme. As e-learning professionals it is great to see that our good work has been recognised by the industry and we are all very proud of MindEd for Families. It is an important and necessary resource for people in very difficult situations and we hope that we can make a positive difference.”

For more information about HEE e-LfH’s programme please visit

Attached photograph shows from L to R:

•             Sam Barbee – Sales and Marketing Director, Learning Pool

•             Martin Sinclair – Programme Lead, e-Learning for Healthcare

•             Wendy Lowe – Instructional Designer, e-Learning for Healthcare

•             Deborah Limb – Chief Operations Officer, Learning Pool.

New MRI safety training – volunteers required

The author of a new MRI safety course, which has been developed in partnership with Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH), which could prevent injuries and save lives by reducing adverse incidents, is calling for volunteers to take part in a pilot of ‘Managing Patients Undergoing Anaesthesia in the MRI Unit’.

Barbara Nugent, a team leader at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and a project lead for MRI safety at NHS Education for Scotland, has been actively trying to create a global database of MRI adverse events. The evidence compiled supports the need for introducing minimum levels of safety education to the MRI workforce. To satisfy this requirement some of this data has been used to reinforce the need for e-learning modules for MRI staff at the frontline of MRI safety: including radiographers, radiologists, physicists and clinical scientists.

Developed in collaboration with Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) programme and with the support of other professional bodies and organisations across the UK (SCoR, BAMRR, MRAG, IPEM (MRSIG), MHRA, BIR, RCR, HFS, AAGBI and ISMRM) the first module of the MRI safety course is now ready to be tested.

Once this first module has been evaluated, it is intended to be one of a suite of online MRI Safety Programme learning modules designed to share fundamental MRI safety knowledge while also developing professional expertise in the areas of:

  • MRI safety hazards and risk management
  • MRI safety guidelines and legislation
  • MRI adverse incident management and reporting

For more information about the MRI Safety e-learning session and to evaluate the pilot please click here.

Widening the access of HEE e-LfH resources

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) has added the e-LfH Hub and its thousands of e-learning sessions to the list of OpenAthens resources to make it easier for certain groups of the health and social care workforce to access e-LfH’s e-learning.

HEE e-LfH works in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies to support patient care by providing e-learning to educate and train the health and social care workforce.

HEE e-LfH’s programmes cover subjects from audiology to anaesthesia, dentistry to dermatology, electronic fetal monitoring to end of life care, primary care to prescribing, safeguarding children to statutory and mandatory training. All content is nationally quality-assured and available 24/7. The online training sessions enhance traditional learning, support existing teaching methods and provide a valuable reference point.

OpenAthens is a service that allows people to access a series of online resources free of charge with just a single OpenAthens account.

The OpenAthens eligibility criteria, which are managed by NICE, cover anyone working directly with NHS patients and anyone working directly on the development and/or delivery of training materials for either NHS staff or NHS patients within an organisation that provides NHS-commissioned care or commissions care for NHS patients in England. This includes charities, voluntary organisations, local authorities, arm’s length bodies and healthcare students.

For more detailed information on the eligibility criteria please visit:

To register for an OpenAthens account please visit: or for more information about accessing e-LfH resources via OpenAthens visit:

Interoperability link – AICC

The interoperability link from Health Education England has been vital to our continued development of Technology Enhanced Learning at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals.

We use Moodle as our Learning Management System which hosts all of our e-learning and induction modules and we build the majority of these modules ourselves, with the support of Subject Matter Experts. Safer Use of Insulin was an external package we used, but had its limitations. We weren’t able to host this on our platform and simply provided a link for users to register their details on an external site. We then had to run a special report to capture all completions.

With the help of Health Education England, not only can we use their e-learning content for this course, but we can also track all completions and the user can even download a certificate of completion, all within the Moodle platform.

From an administration perspective, it couldn’t be easier to add this course to our platform as the instructions are simple and anyone familiar with Moodle can utilise this AICC facility.

Over 2,500 members of staff are required to complete this module, and it is also included within the Medical Induction that users complete before they start at the Trust.

For more information contact David Spinks, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS by emailing or Charlotte Teager, Professional Advisor for Technology Enhanced Learning, Health Education England in the East of England by emailing

Can you spare 15 minutes to shape the future of technology enhanced learning in healthcare?

Health Education England’s Technology Enhanced Learning Programme (TEL) is working on the Department of Health mandate to find digital solutions to some of the challenges presented in accessing, creating and sharing online teaching and learning resources.

The TEL team is conducting a short survey looking at the current use, attitudes and views toward online learning resources. The findings from this research will go towards improving access to learning resources, greater collaboration and sharing of information, and the avoidance of costly duplication.

Please can you spare 15 minutes to undertake this survey? The team is looking for the views of Allied Healthcare Professionals, Higher Education Teachers and Trainers, Commissioners, GPs, Nurses, Healthcare Scientists, Doctors, Radiographers, Health Care Assistants, Paramedics, Physician Associates, and many more – everyone working or training in health and social care!

Start the Survey Now

This survey is part of a wider user testing exercise that is cross-checking existing research. All data you provide in your answers remains anonymous, and you will not be asked to provide your name or your specific place of work. Please answer all questions to the best of your ability. You do not need to spend very long on each question and there are no right or wrong answers. It may seem that some questions are asked more than once but this is part of the chosen methodology.

If you would like to find out more about the TEL Programme please visit HEE’s website or email