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HEE rolls out urgent countrywide training programme to equip staff for COVID-19 challenge

15 April 2020

Health Education England is supporting a nationwide effort to ensure staff temporarily switching roles during the COVID-19 crisis have access to the required additional training.

Challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, including the creation of the new Nightingale hospitals, mean that thousands of health and care workers are being temporarily redeployed.

HEE is working with the country’s universities to deliver bespoke training modules to staff engaging in new areas of work. These include doctors, nurses, health care professionals and care workers.

The training, delivered mainly via webinars and podcasts, covers areas including advanced respiratory management and infection control.

Professor Sheona MacLeod, acting Director of Education and Quality, Health Education England, said:  “The nature of this crisis means that thousands of our dedicated NHS workers are transitioning into new roles, both to cope with the volume of patients affected by COVID-19, and to provide care for other patients if staff are deployed into the new temporary Nightingale hospitals.

“Working with our key partners, we are ensuring additional training can be provided so that staff are competent, safe and confident in new areas of work, and ready to give their patients the best possible care.

“We want to acknowledge the immense professionalism and flexibility of the NHS workforce at this tremendously difficult time, and are working to give them the best possible support.”

In one HEE region alone, the north east and Yorkshire, a series of webinars and podcasts is aimed largely at staff who will cover for those redeployed to the new Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate.

The universities of Huddersfield, Hull, Sheffield and Bradford have all answered a call from HEE to deliver the training at short notice.

The first webinars, delivered by the University of Huddersfield, had more than 600 subscribers in less than 48 hours and well over 1,000 people are now thought to be participating. Some 2,400 places are available across the region with the potential for provision to be extended.

Topics are being accessed by staff in a wide range of roles, including those working in acute, mental health and community settings, GP surgeries and care homes.