Speciality Development

On this page you will find guidance, resources and information regarding the development of Advanced Practice in a number of specialities.

Learning Disability and Autism

This work is being supported by Haley Whelpton, Specialist Advisor in Learning Disability and Autism.  Haley’s role is to support the development and implementation of advanced practice within learning disability and autism services, in both specialist and mainstream provision (including secondary and primary care).  Advanced practice is available to practitioners from social care and third sector organisations who deliver NHS services and are able to meet the governance requirements.  Haley is the first point of contact in NEY for advanced practice in learning disability and autism. 

In recent years, the learning disabilities and autism workforce has been the focus of much attention, the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme has highlighted the persistence of preventable health inequalities and that people with a learning disability die, on average, 15-20 years sooner than people without a learning disability.  LeDeR emphasised the need for healthcare coordination for people with complex or multiple health conditions and assurance that effective, reasonable adjustments are being provided for people with a learning disability and their families

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) seeks to ensure that people with learning disability and/or autism get better support.

Developing the workforce to meet these aims requires a review of roles, teams and associated education and training, advanced practitioners in learning disability and autism will provide the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are needed for workforce transformation and improved outcomes for the people that we serve. (Adapted from the introduction of Capabilities framework, HEE, 2020)

In 2020 the national Advanced Clinical Practice: Capabilities framework when working with people who have a learning disability and/or autism was developed. At a similar time, a post-graduate certificate in learning disability and/or autism was developed and piloted by two universities (Edge Hill and Cumbria).  A formal evaluation has been commissioned and is expected in 2023.  Feedback has strongly suggested a requirement to separate learning disability and autism; to provide education/training specifically regarding the needs of people who are autistic but have no learning or intellectual disability. 

Two credentials have been developed:

1.  The Advanced Practice Credential Specification: for Supporting People with Learning Disabilities, Including People with a Learning Disability who are Autistic was released 16th November 2022 and is available here. 

2. Multi-professional Advanced Practice Credential in Autism (children, young people and adults of all ages) is currently in HEE’s assurance process awaiting ratification of endorsement.  The document will need to be finalised and release is expected early 2023.

Enquiries are most welcome form Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) who may be interested in developing modules to deliver the credentials

In the North East and Yorkshire (NEY) region Sheffield Hallam University will be delivering the first credential as part of their Advanced Practice MSc.  Further information about the development of the autism credential can be found here.

 The post graduate certificate can be studied and be presented to HEIs as prior learning providing credits towards the Advanced practice MSc (each HEI has its own policy regarding this).  Once the trainee has completed the Advanced Practice MSc the PG Cert becomes a credential.  Currently work is planned to retrospectively endorse the PG Cert to enable this to happen.

In the North East and Yorkshire for 2021/22, 5 trainees started the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning Disability and Autism at University of Cumbria or Edgehill University.  Sheffield Hallam University are developing modules for the learning disability credential (see ‘1’ above), NEY Regional faculty is working in collaboration with them.

The national target for 2022/23 is 250 trainees.

Developing ACPs in Learning Disabilities and Autism Webinar

The North East and Yorkshire Faculty for Advancing Practice held a webinar on 09/02/2023 at 12:30 – 13:30 via Microsoft Teams around Advanced Practice in Learning Disabilities and Autism. The purpose of the webinar was to explain the rationale for developing credentials and provide an overview of their content and how they may be delivered as modules within an ACP MSc.  A summary of the evolution of the credentials will be provided and the new funding offer will be presented together with a clear description of criteria required to qualify. 

Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

Information for Professionals from above resource website

Free resources at Makaton

Resources for Professionals from Mencap

Health Guides, Hospital Passports and Summary Care Guides at Mencap

Download the Pre Hospital App:

Anyone can download and use the App for free! Its available on iOS, Android and Blackberry.

– iOS – search for ‘PreHospApp’

– Blackberry – search for ‘pre hospital app’

– Android – search for ‘Pre-Hospital Communication App’

To find out more about this work or to get involved, please contact Haley on H.Whelpton@shu.ac.uk.

New virtual network for advancing practice in learning disability and/or autism (multi-professional)

Our new network for qualified advanced practitioners and consultants in learning disability and/or autism (including those aspiring to be or in training) is currently being piloted. This pilot will enable network members to connect, work together to find solutions, share best practice and more.

The network, offers its members the opportunity to influence the development of advancing practice roles. Recognising that members will work within a multi-disciplinary team to take a holistic approach to individual’s care and support, it will also give aspiring, trainee and qualified advanced practitioners and consultants a space in which to consider ways to support educational development for themselves and the future workforce.

The network is accessible 24/7 and we hope it will provide a platform for members to get advice and peer support. We will also be running a number of virtual events, including an official launch event on 7 March 2023 – more information on this in due course.

The network is free to join. To become a member complete the virtual network registration form.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Mental Health

The Advanced Practice Mental Health Network is on the move after a successful pilot. Evaluation data shows the positive impact that members feel the Network offers; it is proving to be an invaluable resource to support one another, to reduce the isolation and loneliness that can sometimes come with advanced practitioner roles, and to help develop the future of advanced practice in mental health.

he Network currently has nearly 600 members across England, and it offers a space to connect people aspiring to be, training to be or working as an advanced practitioner in mental health.  Also welcome are those who support the development of the workforce including regional and national strategic leaders and MSc programme teams delivering the recently endorsed Advanced Practice Mental Health Curriculum and Capabilities Framework.

Click here to join the network.


The Advanced Clinical Practice in Midwifery: Capability Framework has been produced in order to help create the new midwifery roles required to meet the health needs of the population. This framework has been produced following analysis commissioned by Health Education England and the recommendations that came from it.   The framework is a culmination of the work done to undertake a deep dive into the use and development of Advanced Clinical Practice in maternity services. There is a clear need for highly experienced clinicians who are trained to an advanced level with an ability to manage clinical care in partnership with childbearing people and families. This framework will support how midwives can advance their careers and we look forward to seeing the associated improvements in safe and personalised maternity care.