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Health Education England sets out work to expand and develop the NHS workforce

30 July 2020

Investment in training places for priority areas such as mental health, nursing and cancer and return to practice programmes are just some of the collaborative Health Education England initiatives outlined in the We are the NHS: the People Plan for 2020/21’ published today.  

The plan sets out the actions that HEE and NHS England and NHS Improvement will take, over the remainder of 2020/21, to support transformation across the whole NHS with a focus on workforce growth and changing the culture of the NHS and support the government commitment to expand our primary care workforce, including GPs and nurses.  

The plan supports the government commitment to value our people - everyone, of every background, in every part of our health and care system, has a contribution to make, and everyone needs to be supported to do their best possible work and make the NHS the best place to work.   

Key HEE actions include:  

  • Enabling up to 300 peer-support workers to join the mental health workforce and expanding education and training posts for the future workforce including 108 additional Responsible Clinicians, 50 community-based specialist mental health pharmacists, 250 Advanced Clinical Practitioners, 2926 Adult IAPT practitioners, 245 Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and 300 CYP IAPT Practitioners;
  • increasing the number of training places for clinical psychology and child and adolescent psychotherapy by 25% (total of 734 starting training in 2020/21);  
  • investing in measures to expand psychiatry starting with an additional 17 core psychiatry training programmes in hard to recruit areas in 2020/21 and the development of bespoke Return to Practice and preceptorship programmes for mental health nursing;  
  • training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 350 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology, and extending cancer support-worker training; 
  • Investing in an extra 250 foundation year 2 posts, to enable the doctors filling them to support the pipeline into psychiatry, general practice and other priority areas – notably, cancer, with clinical radiology, oncology and histopathology; and  
  • working with universities to support an increase of over 5000 undergraduate places from September 2020 in nursing, midwifery, allied health professions and dental therapy and hygienist courses. 

Following the lessons of the pandemic, these actions will help us to value our people and work with our partner organisations to create more open borders and better joint working in health and care education as a system: collegiate, co-operative, collaborative.

Wendy Reid Acting Chief Executive, Health Education England said:  

“HEE is working hard to address the most pressing workforce shortages in service areas with the highest demand and in professions that require the most urgent focus. Over the coming months we are investing more money to deliver more training places in key areas such as nursing, mental health and cancer.  

“Transforming the NHS is not an overnight task and we know that much more will need to be done beyond 2021 to continue to meet the workforce challenge and deliver the care that people expect. We will be able to set out further plans once we know the outcome of the spending review. " 

Sir David Behan, Chair, Health Education England said:  

“HEE has worked with partners and stakeholders from across the health and care system to develop this next part of the People Plan, in particular with NHS England and Improvement.

“We will continue to work in collaboration to take the aims of We Are the NHS forward, to build ways to better promote and protect the wellbeing and welfare of our NHS people. There will be an emphasis on inclusive, compassionate leadership to support staff to be the best they can be, and to deliver the best quality care for patients to which we all aspire.

“We want this plan to make real and lasting change, building on the creativity and drive shown by our NHS people in their response to the pandemic, to create a more sustainable and compassionate culture within the NHS.” 

To view the report go to: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ournhspeople/  

A further People Plan is expected to be published in late 2020/21 following the Spending Review.