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Our work

We are leading a number of projects in many areas of healthcare to improve training and education - ultimately improving patient care while promoting the NHS values. Some of these projects are specific to Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and others we deliver across England.

The work we do is not just central to training the staff of one of the biggest employers in the world, the NHS, but also across the health and care sectors in England. Through HEE-led projects, and working with partners and NHS staff, we aim to deliver high quality healthcare recruitment, education and training.

The key principles that underpin all our work is set out in Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce – From Design to Delivery. Our mandate from the Government, as well as our 15 year framework and annual business plans, shape our work in three themes:

Planning and commissioning

There are over 300 different careers in the NHS and we commission education and training programmes for 129 different types of healthcare staff, ranging from paramedics and pathologists, midwives and biomedical scientists to GPs and paediatric nurses, and more.

Each year we identify the numbers, skills, values and behaviours that employers tell us they need for the future. Please view our Workforce Plan for England. Based on the national plan, we then develop local workforce plans.

Our planning and commissioning programmes ensure that the NHS has the right number of staff with the right skills, values and behaviours, in the right areas to provide safe, effective care for patients.

Planning and commissioning

Attracting and developing our workforce

It’s important that we attract people to the healthcare workforce to ensure that we have the right number of people, with the right skills, delivering healthcare at the right time, in the right place.

Our work also covers healthcare staff currently employed to ensure they continuously have the skills, competencies and behaviours to work in the NHS. We are currently working on a number of projects locally and nationally to ensure we attract and develop flexible, competent staff, who hold the NHS values at heart.

The regulators also have an important part to play in this, as do providers who are ultimately responsible for employing, maintaining and developing their staff and the quality of care they provide.

Attracting and developing our workforce

Research and innovation

As part of our commitment to the Government’s mandate to HEE, we will develop a more flexible workforce. A workforce that is able to respond to the changing patterns of service and embrace research and innovation - meaning that that staff are able to adapt to the changing demands of public health, services and patients. Our work focuses on doing more to make sure the benefits of research evidence are communicated, with a focus on innovation to drive up quality and productivity in all parts of the NHS.

The HEKSS research, innovation and evaluation unit supports the implementation and on-going development of the skills development strategy. This dedicated research-based evaluation and innovation capability is novel in the way it integrates the three activities and underpins the work of the skills strategy.

The unit includes a lead for innovation, a lead for evaluation and a research manager. Research is ‘embedded’ in both other arms of the unit – evaluation is research-based (ensuring robustness and validity) whilst research helps drive innovation.

The unit evaluates the outcomes of educational investment in terms of service delivery and the desired effect on patient care, both now and against expected future needs.

The unit has produced an Assessment Guidance report (download below) providing clear guidance on the process and criteria for assessing proposals for educational investment and their end results. While primarily intended to support internal HEKSS processes, the guidance will enable all stakeholders, particularly educational providers, to fully understand how the value of educational investment is being supported and assessed. You can download the report at the bottom of this page. 

Research and innovation