The end of Health Education England as we know it is fast approaching, bringing mixed emotions for many of us, including me. Today, our HEE10 thought leadership event is taking place, marking 10 years of working with partners and stakeholders to plan, recruit, educate and train the health and care workforce. We are looking forward to welcoming over 250 stakeholders, partners, trainees, students, learners and educators, who will come together to celebrate our achievements and engage in a thought-provoking session, exploring questions addressing our learning from the past decade and what we need to do in future to sustain the health and care workforce.
I want to take this moment with you to reflect on some of our achievements over the last 10 years, as we prepare to join the new NHS England, and continue the work we do in closer alignment than ever.
Health Education England (HEE) assumed its formal powers on 1 April 2013 and will merge with NHS England (and NHS Digital) to become a core part of the new NHS England on 1 April 2023, a decade to the day after its inception. The world has changed a fair bit in that decade. And we lived through the first global pandemic in a century. The world is a different place. HEE’s story is one of growth, delivery, and innovation, evolving in line with this ever-shifting landscape.
Every single year of HEE’s existence is marked by significant achievements, from our first year, when HEE Kent, Surrey & Sussex developed a world-leading initiative with the Alzheimer Society to understand life with long-term conditions and the role of carers, to our third year, with the launch of the Care Certificate with Skills for Care and Skills for Health for around 20,000 health care assistants and social care support workers in its first year. We went on to launch Framework 15, which outlined future healthcare through the lens of the patient; we delivered improved opportunities for underrepresented groups through apprenticeships, pre-employment and youth engagement; E-learning for healthcare (e-LfH) grew by a million to 4.75m sessions as part of our Digital Ready Workforce ambition and our Health Careers schools’ competition saw a record 123 schools and 10,000 children take part.
We recruited 5,000 trainees with the launch of the new Nursing Associate profession; our ground-breaking Topol report, ‘Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future,’ was launched to global acclaim. We helped deliver 1,500 new student medical places, with new medical schools in areas of high deprivation.
More recently, COVID-19 posed unprecedented challenges, and we continued to support the system in myriad ways: our Medical Education Reform implementation resulted in 1,400 Foundation and 250 Psychiatry priority applications. We provided £150m for nurse, midwifery and AHP professional development. We created Topol Digital Fellowships, an NHS Digital Academy, a Diploma in Digital Health Leadership and a Digital Nurse Leadership programme. We helped 40,000 students and trainees support Covid-19 front line and we launched Best Place to Work to improve HEE’s culture, people and practices. HEE established and got its first cohort of Blended Learning students on programmes.
Our Global learners Programme with overseas governments and 50 NHS Trusts deployed 900 nurses, including 180 in intensive care to support the Covid response. Our free Covid-19 e-learning was used 4.5m times globally. We created a foundation interim year which saw 3,800 doctors deploy early across the NHS. e-LfH had its biggest year with more than 22 million sessions and our Strategic Vision for Simulation and Immersive Technologies proved how far we had come since the 2012 ‘Skills Bus’. Our reforms to NHS knowledge and library services delivered £77m of value by saving clinicians’ time.
Our online vaccination training programme was used more than three million times. Members of nearly 200 NHS Boards went through our Digital Boards programme. We helped ensure a record 28,815 chose nursing degrees, recruited over 4,000 GP trainees for the first time, filled over 99% of trainee places in hard to recruit areas and delivered a record 24,500 apprentices in 178 different careers.
In our final year, HEE once again broke GP trainee records, remaining on course to deliver 50,000 new NHS nurses, grew the Digital First agenda, launched the world’s first medical apprenticeships, and stand on the brink of publishing the first national long term workforce plan.
This is just a snapshot of our many accomplishments over our lifespan. The cumulative impact of those 10 years has been extraordinary: over 104,000 doctors, 125,000 nurses, 165,000 Allied Health Professionals, 17,500 pharmacists and 6,500 dentists and dental practitioners contributing to net growth of 73,000 NHS clinical staff. HEE has also innovated: The NHS has recruited 11,000 Nursing Associates in the last two years alone. Nearly 600 people started blended nursing degrees since 2020. And, we have led the recruitment of 115,000 apprentices since the levy was introduced in 2016. All of this on top of record numbers of GP trainees year on year. Our work will continue as we form part of the new NHS England, building on our commitments to a new and different workforce, widening participation to improve our workforce’s diversity, and preparing our workforce for a radically new technologically driven future.
Thank you, to everyone who has supported us along the way. You are a part of our story and legacy, and I am grateful to you all.
I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Dr Navina Evans
Health Education England
This Page was last updated on: 20 March 2023