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.
Student movement - advice for students on clinical placements - 27 November 2020
Students currently on a clinical placement, where that placement is operationally essential, should complete their placement and progress in their studies as planned. Where an individual wishes to end their placement early they will need to discuss options with their education provider. Further information on student movement plans can be found on the Department of Education website.
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.
In May 2020 Health Education England (HEE) asked the RePAIR (Reducing Pre-registration Attrition and Improving Retention) team to undertake a survey to capture the experience of pre-registration nurses, midwives and AHPs (Allied Health Professionals) during wave one of the pandemic. Read the report including key findings below.
HEE Education Quality Management Function
Position Statement for second and subsequent Covid-19 surges (updated 12 January 2021)
While HEE recognises the unparalleled pressure system partners are under during this COVID-19 surge (and compounding winter pressures), we will continue to ensure that education quality issues are managed.
We will do this in a way that appropriately reflects local pressures, through our regional Postgraduate Deans and their Quality Teams, with strict adherence to local and national COVID-19 rules, policies and in agreement with system partners. Quality management activities are expected to continue, but where regions are under extreme pressure, a pause to routine monitoring may be appropriate and this will be discussed with providers, Regional Postgraduate Deans and Quality Leads. Where this decision is reached, it will be documented, and risk rated. Assurance will be sought through alternative routes or a new deadline for monitoring agreed.
We will continue to deliver our core quality function during this and subsequent COVID-19 surges by taking forward the lessons learned during the first wave, developing and building on the innovative approaches to quality and utilising these where appropriate.
The core principles set out in the initial surge remain in place and set out HEEs expectations during this and subsequent COVID-19 surges to ensure learner and patient safety.
What we did during the first surge
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 focussed 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.
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 escalating concerns process. We will monitor this and liaise directly with NHS Trust or education provider and trust where patient safety is at significant risk.
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, focussing 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, focussed 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.
COVID-19 has placed pressures on healthcare services and professionals delivering patient care. Consequently, postgraduate medical and dental training has been interrupted, and some trainees have reported limited opportunities for supervised work-based placed assessments. Many colleagues were redeployed or worked outside their usual clinical areas and gained additional knowledge or skills, particularly those outside the scope of their respective training curriculum, that may not have been captured.
Postgraduate Deans in the South East and Midlands have collaborated on a project to create a COVID-19 self-certification template. The certificate was designed based on feedback from healthcare professionals. The self-certificate can be used by any healthcare professional, including, Medical, Dental, Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health Professions, etc. It is a one-stop document that provides an overview of all competencies or experiences colleagues may have gained during the pandemic.
See the self-certification template and an introductory letter below for further information:
Healthcare professionals can also upload the completed document to their e-portfolio for future reference.