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HEE Chief Executive reflects on first 100 days in the role

22 February 2021

Dr Navina Evans today celebrates the milestone of 100 days  as  Health Education England’s (HEE) Chief Executive and she has outlined her experience so far and priorities for the future.

Joining HEE during a global pandemic brings its challenges but Navina has been extremely proud of the role HEE has played in supporting students and leaners and the wider NHS workforce in these unprecedented times.
Talking about her experience so far, Dr Evans said:
“These truly are extraordinary times and I have been humbled by the important role that HEE staff have played in responding very quickly to the demands of the NHS by adapting and changing the way we do things.  
“I have been really struck by the way HEE staff have worked so tirelessly to support the NHS and patients and by their wide range of skills, experience and enthusiasm. They been able to utilise the good relationships HEE has with other NHS bodies to support the thousands of students and learners who are playing their part. By having honest conversations about the challenges and pressures we face, as well as the opportunities they present, we are learning and listening, reforming and making sure everything we do works for the NHS and patients. We are “all in this together"and working with other ALBs, partners, Royal Colleges, HEIs we can make life better for the citizens of this country for decades to come.  
HEE has had to be  flexible in its approach to training, this ranges from changing the way we recruit to funding extensions to medical trainees who need to extend their training because of covid disruption. It has also launched a COVID-19 e-learning programme to support the health and care workforce responding to the pandemic. To date there have been 4.3million session launches of this programme.
While also continuing with business as usual HEE has overseen record breaking GP speciality training recruitment figures and supported the growth of nursing undergraduate supply with latest figures showing a record rise in the number of university applications to become nurses.
Future focus  
HEE  will need to be agile and ready to support the recovery of the service post covid. Dr Evans wants the focus to be on ensuring that the NHS has the workforce it needs – adequately trained, supported, and developed to deliver the best care possible now and in the NHS of tomorrow.    
HEE are:
• Working with our partners to deliver our key commitments to grow the workforce – including 6,000 extra doctors in primary care, 26,000 extra primary care professionals, and 50,000 additional nurses by 2024/25.  
• Reforming the way we recruit, providing flexibities to learning. For example we will be proceeding with recruitment into all specialties including the Foundation Programme  to ensure the supply of doctors from August 2021.  
• Permanently rolling recruitment rounds to run over the next 12 months so that trainees will have access to training as they comp lete required training for progression.  
Dr Evans said:
“We need to turn on all the staffing supply taps, which includes not only focusing on our current healthcare workforce and our national recruitment programmes, but also harnessing the global reputation of our NHS and our education and training capabilities to ethically recruit from overseas.
“My personal aim is to ensure that in growing our workforce, we make greater improvements in ensuring it reflects the communities that we serve. This includes making sure that there are  new routes into health and social care which enhance social mobility and widen opportunity. These new routes into the workforce will have a profound positive impact on the make-up of our workforce.  We must also continue to build our pipeline for the future, however, we also need to ensure that we look after our people and we can encourage staff to stay.  
“At the heart of this will be making HEE the best place to work and embedding a culture that is transparent, diverse and inclusive is the best way to ensure we deliver for front line health and care learners and staff in this challenging environment. I look forward to the next 100 days.”