Last reviewed 8 June 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published the Government's strategic objectives for Health Education England (HEE) in providing healthcare workforce planning, education and training for April 2021 to March 2022.

This year’s mandate contains 14 objectives for HEE, grouped under the six key themes comprising Covid-19 response and recovery; Government healthcare workforce priorities; NHS Long Term Plan delivery; long-term workforce planning and reform to transform services; collaboration with social care; and supply of information.

The DHSC said that, over the next few months, the main focus will be on the first objective of supporting the Government to manage Covid-19, but the HEE Mandate may be updated later in the year as the UK emerges from the pandemic.

Care Minister Helen Whately said that she has set a relatively brief mandate for HEE in 2021 to 2022 to reflect the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, and that the work to determine workforce and people priorities beyond April 2021 has a focus on supporting the recovery of NHS staff and services.

HEE is tasked to take forward actions to increase the supply of people trained to fill the roles needed to enable delivery of the service objectives for mental health and cancer and diagnostics set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. It should also lead work jointly with DHSC and NHSEI on implementing the NHS People Plan 2020 to 2021: Action for Us All, here.

The Mandate states that this will include further progress on addressing equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of HEE’s work; and recognising the importance of continuous professional development, continuing development of new competences and taking on new roles.

HEE will work to help shape the operating model for people and workforce issues in the NHS, with a particular focus on the developing roles of the new integrated care systems and impacts of the statutory changes proposed in the Bill.

An important objective is that HEE should promote an integrated approach to the health and social care workforce and “support integrated care systems to join up their local workforce planning and development for health and social care”, as it continues to develop its work with the social care system at all levels.

For the medium and long term, the Government needs to ensure that there are enough staff to meet future health challenges, and remains committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by 2025.

The DHSC is also focusing on “enhancing generalist and digital skills, alongside teamwork, management and leadership capabilities”, and all health and social care staff will receive training in learning disabilities and autism.

The Government will be taking forward, in the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill, the removal of the local education and training boards (LETBs) from statute to enable HEE to design its own operating model in order to work effectively with regional people and workforce boards.

The HEE Mandate 2021 to 2022 is available here.