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‘Why is global learning so vital’

18 February 2022

Never has the need for us to recognise and promote ‘global learning’ been starker as we emerge from the single biggest global health crisis that all of us have faced in our lifetimes.  

The World Health Organisation recognise that for us to become genuinely prepared for further threats to our health systems by a future pandemic, climate change, the growth of non-communicable disease or an ageing population, we need to substantially grow our healthcare workforce and ensure that those of us who work in healthcare are as effective as we can possibly be. 

At HEE, as the largest education, training and workforce planning organisation for healthcare in the world, we are in a particular position of influence and our people have unique experience in building and developing the right workforce.

Evidence demonstrates that when a healthcare worker moves into another care system, wherever in the world that is, they learn. Not only do they learn, but they develop skills which are hugely important in the NHS – things like resourcefulness, intercultural skills, resilience and team building. Mutual learning and peer sharing is so powerful to developing these and we know that they are significantly enhanced when we facilitate workforce exchange. 

When we speak of global health security, we aren’t only talking about other countries. As the past two years have shown us, we need to ensure our own health security as well. One of the best ways in which we can do this is by understanding, learning and developing knowledge pathways with colleagues who are not in the NHS and accessing the wealth and diversity of knowledge available to us across the world. It is critical that we develop these relationships globally, for a globalised world. We have seen so many brilliant examples of this throughout the pandemic as healthcare practitioners across the world collectively shared knowledge and best practice with each other, while coping with the same challenges in a myriad of ways.  

HEE, along with the government, is part of key conversations globally and our workforce planning expertise is fundamental to that. Just some of the things we have led include the development of high-quality workforce exchange programmes, such as our emergency medicine programme, which brings doctors from India to the UK for three-year fellowships. We’ve also developed a series of mutually beneficial international recruitment pathways, including pathways for allied health professionals and a fellowship in emergency medicine. We’ve created a programme for NHS staff to work on quality improvement placements in low and middle-income countries and we’re also working closely with countries in East Africa, to grow sustainable and mutually beneficial educational partnerships, developing learning opportunities and workforce exchange.

Our work in this area is about finding out how we can help countries to achieve what they want to achieve – saying, here’s what we do, how can we work with you to help develop what you need?  

By opening our doors for global learning, as a leading force for global healthcare transformation, we can improve the quality of healthcare in England while simultaneously improving the health of all nations.  

Best Wishes


Dr Navina Evans

Chief Executive 

Health Education England

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This Page was last updated on: 18 February 2022