As we enter into further restrictions throughout November, there is no doubt that we are now in the midst of the second surge of COVID. The rapidly changing situation of COVID means that the way we unite together once again, to protect patients, health and care staff and learners this time will be different - both because we have learnt things from last time, and because of our different position in the academic year. As before, this is a real test of our strength, resilience, and tolerance as we work together closely.
Another difference this time is that the local situation in the regions is more varied – it’s really important to remember that as a national organisation, some colleagues across regional health and care systems, will likely be feeling much more of the strain of the pandemic than others, both personally and at work. Being mindful of this and supporting each other remains a top priority for us all.
Across all regions we are having frequent, in some areas, daily discussions with, partners across health and care and HEIs to ensure that collectively we carefully manage the redeployment of learners whilst preserving training. Regional workforce cells are key to this as we work to different timelines and intensity across regions. We are already working closely together to ensure any duration of redeployment does not exceed service need, and we are asking for your help to protect educational opportunities where regions are continuing to maximise non-COVID service recovery.
Despite COVID, we recognise that we must continue to deliver manifesto and mandated priorities. HEE remains on track to support key NHS workforce growth commitments with a record increase in pre-registration nursing courses and the largest ever intake for GP specialty training. This comes in addition to the steps HEE took to support the first wave pandemic response, including supporting over 40,000 students and trainees to join the frontline. The number of acceptances in nursing degrees is 23% higher than this time last year and medical school acceptances in England is 8% higher.
How we work together during this second surge really does matter to our future workforce supply. We need everyone’s support to ensure that preservation of training remains a priority and the impact of redeployment on education must be proactively assessed and mitigated as far as possible. In return, we are keen to hear if there is anything else you need from HEE as we unite in our efforts to fight COVID once again. After all, we are in this together!
Dr Navina Evans
Health Education England
This Page was last updated on: 6 November 2020