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COVID-19 response and recovery

We will prioritise supporting the system, learners and the graduate pipeline to recover from the pandemic, recognising it will continue to impact on the delivery of our objectives. The NHS coped admirably with the nation’s worst crisis in living memory but there is more to do. The pandemic disrupted the learning of doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, and allied healthcare professionals. Many were redeployed or volunteered to support the NHS in other ways. There is no doubt these thousands of learners made a significant contribution to fighting the virus.

Innovation, agility, and cooperation saw training delivered virtually, specialty recruitment continue, and transformational change delivered at pace. Most trainees and trainers reported positive experiences around teamwork, support and feeling valued in their role, despite severe pressures.

In January 2021 we worked with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), to reintroduce emergency education standards that enabled most students to continue learning, but created resource for the system, and opportunity for final year students to volunteer if they wished.

Temporary changes to the annual review of competency progression (ARCP) process allowed trainees to progress and then catch up with missed curricula and competencies during the next training year.

As we plan service and education recovery, we are already seeing health and care careers proving more attractive so we will capture innovation to deliver supportive and inclusive training

environments, cement new training opportunities and embed improved ways of working for new and current students and trainees.

Our Deans will work with the GMC and Royal Colleges to ensure the pandemic does not compromise long-term training needs and progression, recognising the implications of changes made during the pandemic on what is required of trainees in this and subsequent training years. Deans will facilitate additional training whilst continuing to ensure patient safety and avoid over- burdening trainees and trainers.

Through shared ambitions to ensure health education and training is flexible and responsive to changing demands we will improve medical education based on the lessons from the last year and the requirements of a post pandemic world. We will also enhance our modelling and analytical capability as COVID-19 showed our teams are best placed to do this for the system. Multi- professional teams and a primary focus on skills rather than roles served the NHS well during the pandemic and we will further embed this approach through education, training and planning the future workforce.