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Covid-19 updates - all professions (October 2020 onwards)

This page contains general Covid-19 information for the period October 2020 onwards. It will provide guidance and information from HEE, which is applicable to all students and trainees.

Guidance and updates

Healthcare Learners Coronavirus Advice Guide - 25 November 2020

The Healthcare Learners Coronavirus Advice Guide aims to serve as an aid to healthcare learners to provide them with useful hints, tips and advice to use during the current COVID-19 pandemic and to protect against other infections. The advice given in this document has been collated from questions posed to HEE and experiences shared by healthcare learners working on the front line.

Supporting the NHS during resurge phases of COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic: managing the training workforce - 27 October 2020

This guidance document will be updated on a regular basis, in response to changes in Government advice and local restrictions. Please check back regularly for the most up to date guidance.

HEE Quality Management Function

Position statement for second and subsequent Covid-19 surges

HEE paused all routine healthcare education quality activities during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic but committed to continue supporting existing critical quality concerns. HEE focused on working with CQC, Arm’s Length Bodies and professional regulators to manage and mitigate risks that were under enhanced monitoring/surveillance at a local, regional and national level.

What we did

With pressure on the health and care system requiring some learners and trainees to work outside of their usual training pathway and/or contracted duties, HEE developed a set of core principles to ensure their welfare. The core principles focused on supporting learners to practise safely and not be exposed to risk. Principles around ensuring patient safety was not compromised and providing a route for learners and trainees to raise concerns was critical to supporting learner and clinical learning environments at this unprecedented time.

Checking in with our Learners

To continue to monitor core principles and the quality of education and training during this time, with a focus on patient and learner safety, HEE collected trainee and learner feedback at a national level through targeted online surveys and virtual focus groups.  Locally, quality teams adapted their practices in a flexible, innovative and agile way to effectively quality assure and manage clinical learning environments. This included the use of virtual technology in place of face-to-face quality meetings, strengthening relationships with key stakeholders, capitalising on a broader range of data sources, utilising existing forums to focus on quality, and supporting local educators with their continued focus on quality ‘on-the-ground’.  This enabled national escalation, oversight and management of quality issues adopting a supportive approach at this time.

Surge Planning

HEE will deliver its core quality function during the next COVID-19 surge (and compounding winter pressures) by taking forward the lessons learned during the first wave, developing and building on the innovative approaches to quality. This will be done with strict adherence to local and national COVID-19 rules, policies and in agreement with system partners. Further detailed guidance is being created for local and regional teams to ensure consistency and promote best practice while recognising the need for local flexibility and decision-making.

The core principles set out in the initial surge will remain in place and set out HEEs expectations during this and subsequent COVID-19 surges to ensure learner and patient safety.

HEE Quality function position

HEE will continue to seek assurance that the quality of induction and supervision of trainees and learners is maintained and that they have access to training such as Advanced Life Support/ Advanced Trauma Life Support. As previously, where trainees and learners are being redeployed or rotated, we expect providers to ensure that adequate training has been given to equip them for their roles. Where redeployment/rotation is considered oversight is provided by the Regional Postgraduate Deans.

Trainees and learners will continue to be able to report any concerns via the emerging concerns e-mail. We will monitor this and liaise directly with NHS Trust or education provider and trust where patient safety is at significant risk.

Future

Considering lessons learned from the first wave of Covid-19, HEE is undertaking a refresh of its Quality Strategy and Framework, with a focus on trainee and learner wellbeing, flexibility, induction and supervision. This work is a priority for HEE and key areas of this work will be progressing. HEE is also committed to the development of a strategy to support multi-professional clinical supervision, recognising that there is a need to redefine the multi-professional learning environment and new ways of team working, particularly during challenging circumstances such as Covid-19.

Nationally, focusing on core risks, HEE will progress with its data and intelligence collection and analysis through the scheduled November launch of its National Education and Training Survey (NETS), triangulated with other sources of data (for example the National Training Survey (NTS)) and via information sharing with regulators and other system partners. Moreover, HEE will undertake additional, focused quality monitoring where required (for example, through further targeted surveys and focus groups), with an emphasis on learner and trainee wellbeing and safety.

HEE welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with key partners to ensure our future healthcare workforce receive high quality education and training during these ongoing challenging times. HEE thanks partners for their ongoing dedication and support with achieving this.

Visit our Quality page for more information