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Global engagement

Global engagement

Supporting workforce development through global learning opportunities in the NHS and overseas, by developing international collaboration and by providing technical assistance and expertise.

Global engagement is in our national interest. The UK was the first country to publish a cross-government strategy for global health in 2008, called ‘Health is Global’, later refreshed into an ‘outcomes framework’ in 2011. The strategy included a commitment for the UK to work in partnership with and learn from other countries to improve both global health and UK health outcomes.

More recently, the 2015 UK Aid Strategy, states that the UK would meet its commitments to tackle global challenges and promote prosperity in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), in a way that also supports the UK national interest. There is increasing evidence of this happening in healthcare through stronger international partnerships; through the skills and experience NHS staff gain by working internationally while supporting health system strengthening overseas; and through the important lessons learned by addressing common challenges. 

The NHS is increasingly engaging in global health efforts, with growing interest from NHS staff for overseas learning opportunities alongside an increasing demand for NHS expertise and services globally.  As a world leader in workforce education and training, the NHS is recognised in terms of the quality of educational opportunities but also the low relative cost compared with other advanced economies. Over the last decade we have seen over 120 NHS organisations directly engage in overseas programmes and projects through the ‘Health Partnership’ scheme. This has enabled over 7,000 NHS staff to volunteer their time overseas in LMICs.

As a global leader in the provision of universal health coverage, the NHS playing more of a leading role in tackling the global clinical workforce challenge is not only in the interests of the citizens of LMICs but also, and increasingly, in the interests of the NHS and patients in the UK. 


HEE global engagement objectives 

The healthcare landscape is changing and all staff will need to be increasingly skilled and adaptable, to provide ‘whole person’ care in multi-disciplinary teams with an increased focus on primary and community care, health promotion and prevention. HEE will focus on three priority areas to support development of the existing and future NHS workforce, to address NHS and overseas workforce shortages and to utilise NHS skills and expertise to support and facilitate technical collaboration for health system strengthening. 


Our Work 

We embed global learning into education and training to develop a workforce with the skills, values and behaviours that is adaptable, flexible and able to respond to future needs and drive innovation and improvement 


Examples of our projects and programmes

We have been mandated to promote international volunteering and overseas placements. HEE chairs the international NHS Volunteering Group which brings together stakeholders involved in facilitating and supporting overseas placements, and volunteering of NHS staff overseas. We have  the led development of an NHS international volunteering platform. Now in the latter stages of development, the platform will showcase and highlight opportunities, facilitate connections, signpost to information and opportunities, provide a repository of information and resources on international volunteering and connect applicants with potential hosts.  

HEE has also been developing resources including guidance for those interested in overseas placements (Health Education England Guidance for Trainees Planning to Volunteer or Work Overseas) and a toolkit for those on overseas placements to support collection of evidence of  knowledge and skills gained through participation in an international health project (Toolkit for the Collection of Evidence of Knowledge and Skills Gained Through Participation in an International Health Project) 

The Global Learners Programme is an exciting opportunity for overseas registered healthcare professionals to work in the NHS in England for a period of three years. 

The English NHS learns and relies on overseas healthcare professionals who bring with them experience, skills and professional dedication which makes them an essential part of the workforce. 

We are working with a number of NHS Trusts to offer work placement opportunities, and we are eager to hear from registered healthcare professionals who would like to work in the NHS.   

The programme aims to ensure all healthcare professionals have the best experience working in the UK; this will include a supported package ahead of migration to England, during the period they are working in the UK, and if they wish to return to their home country with an expanded skill set.  The package includes financial support, pastoral support and an education offer to support career development. 

A number of videos have been for produced nurses and NHS Trusts who are interested in finding out further details about the programme

To apply for the programme please complete the application form via the online applicant tracking system.

With a long history supported by the Royal Colleges, the UK’s medical specialty training is truly world class. IPGMTS aims to provide medical specialty training in England, giving the candidates a full replication of NHS competence-based training.  Once the candidates have completed the programme they return to their sponsor country to put their skills in to practice, leading in service provision in their chosen field. 

IPGMTS trainees are sponsored by overseas governments or institutions and are supernumerary to the UK’s medical workforce needs.  They complement British trainees on existing training programmes. Places are limited and only open via government to government agreements. 

HEE’s Directorate of Global Engagement is bringing together communities of experts to support and engage with its various programmes of work.  A new concept to HEE, the ‘Global Taskforce’ communities are expected to be dynamic in function with structures and input adapting over time, responding to both the needs of HEE and of the community itself.  

The groups will be dynamic in nature and responsive to needs as they arise, it is expected that most activity will fall into three strands. 

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