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International office

Countries across the world, particularly economies such as Brazil, India, China and those in the Middle East are investing in the development of their healthcare systems.

As living standards improve expectations of the quality and scope of healthcare is growing. At the same time the burden of long term chronic conditions associated with a more sedentary lifestyle and an aging population is weighing on resources and infrastructure.

The creation of a skilled and competent healthcare workforce is essential to support continued improvement and modernisation. The British NHS has much to offer those geographies which are finding that they do not have enough expertise and/or resources to expand and train their workforce. There is also a great deal that UK institutions can learn when working in and with other countries, from more efficient sustainable ways of providing care to forming partnerships which aim to tackle shared problems such antibiotic resistance, dementia, heart disease or diabetes.


If you have a question for the International Office at HEE then please don’t hesitate to contact us on international.office@hee.nhs.uk.

To provide support to overseas governments and institutions to meet the needs of their healthcare workforce both now and in the future through collaboration and the development of bespoke programmes and packages. 

Drawing on the wealth of skills and connections that exist within HEE and led by David Keen, Professor Elizabeth Hughes and Steve Clarke, the International Office at HEE has close working relationships with other NHS bodies, education providers and government departments such as Healthcare UK (Part of the UK Department for International Trade) and the Department of Health.

Though international collaborations and projects the International Office at HEE aims to improve the health and welfare of populations worldwide by;

1. Building long-term links and partnerships with other countries.

Healthcare sectors worldwide are facing similar problems from how to sustainably fund services through to the issue of a growing and aging population with more long term chronic conditions.

By sharing learning and knowledge across international boundaries, the UK and its partners can develop innovative and cost effective solutions.

2. Supporting the up-skilling and development of the global health workforce.

NHS staff that volunteer overseas can support the development of services or the up skilling of local teams and, with the support of HEE can bring back learning and new skills to their NHS roles.

HEE can also use spare NHS training capacity and work-learn-return programmes to offer quality training and work experiences to healthcare workers who, on return to their home country can put their new skills into practice. While in the UK, overseas workers can help secure safe staffing levels and diversify our workforce, offering a better patient experience, as well as ensuring our own staff have the opportunity to learn new techniques and share in new cultural experiences.

3. To internationally promote the exceptional education and training expertise of the NHS. 

HEE’s role as a national government arms-length body for the planning and development of the English healthcare workforce gives us an unrivalled corporate knowledge of the sector and connections within the UK.

The International Office at HEE is happy to hear from national governments, ministries or institutions.  We can draw on HEE’s vast expertise and experience to put together bespoke proposals which are based on your needs.  We also have unrivalled national links to hospital trusts, education providers, regulatory bodies, and the world renowned Royal Colleges which we can utilise to support larger joint proposals and projects.   

International Postgraduate Medical Training Scheme (IPGMTS)

With a long history supported by the Royal Colleges the UK’s medical speciality training is truly world class. IPGMTS aims to provide medical speciality 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 therefore do not take up places on our existing training programmes. Places are limited and only open via government to government agreements.

Healthcare Scientist Programme

The Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) programme has developed a framework for the education and training of healthcare scientists which includes curriculum, assessment and standards. This is the first programme of its kind and is a whole workforce transformation.  The MSC team are already engaged with international markets including Australia, Canada, India and Brunei.

Workforce Planning and Quality Control

Some of HEE’s core work includes national planning for the future English healthcare workforce and ensuring that training places are of a good standard with curriculums implemented.  When developing proposals The International Office at HEE can draw on individuals and teams with expertise and skills in workforce planning, quality control and career pathway development.

Care Certificate

The Care Certificate is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life. Designed with the non-regulated workforce in mind, the Care Certificate gives everyone the confidence that workers have the same introductory skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe and high quality care and support.  The international Office have a team ready to support the adaption and roll out of the care certificate.

Health Education England in China

HEE has strong links with China including projects which aim to support GP’s into practice and hosting visits and exchange programmes.  The International Office is also exploring some commercial opportunities in the region.   

Middle East

The International Office at HEE is engaged in several projects across the Middle East which will lead to improved health outcomes for local populations.

India Joint Working Group on Health – Education and Training Subgroup.

Set up after a government to government MOU on cooperation in healthcare was signed between India and the UK.  The education and training subgroup is co-chaired by Professor Liz Hughes (HEE) and the Indian Joint Secretary for Health.  Current projects include: comparison of public health training curriculum, creation of new cadres such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and integrated behavioural health counsellors.  

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