Health Education England

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Health Education England (HEE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health. Its function is to provide national leadership and coordination for the education and training within the health and public health workforce within England. It has been operational since June 2012.

Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust, a psychiatrist, was appointed Chief Executive in March 2020, succeeding Prof Ian Cumming.[1]

In August 2020, Dr Harpreet Sood was appointed as Health Education England (HEE) Non-Executive Director.[2]


Key functions of HEE include:[3]

  • providing leadership for the new education and training system.
  • ensuring that the workforce has the right skills, behaviours and training, and is available in the right numbers, to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and drive improvements
  • supporting healthcare providers and clinicians to take greater responsibility for planning and commissioning education and training through the development of Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs), which are statutory committees of HEE
  • ensuring that the shape and skills of the health and public health workforce evolve with demographic and technological change

Junior Doctors as Employees or Not[edit]

In May 2017 the Court of Appeal decided that the organisation could be considered as an employer of junior doctors, in relation to whistle blowing claims brought via an Employment Tribunal, through the case of Dr Chris Day. Dr Day claimed he was discriminated against as a whistle blower but later acknowledged, as part of a settlement agreement, that HEE had acted in good faith towards him.[4] However there is evidence to suggest that the settlement was forced upon Dr. Day and he continues to appeal.[5][6]


HEE was one of the new bodies set out in the NHS reforms of April 2012.[7] Originally established as a Special Health Authority on 28 June 2012, it became a non-departmental public body (NDPB) on 1 April 2015 under the provisions of the Care Act 2014.[3]


Its third national workforce plan, published in December 2015, provides for an increase of nearly 15% in nurses and doctors trained by 2020. This is planned to lead to an increase of 21,133 qualified adult nurses, 6039 hospital consultants and 5381 General Practitioners after allowing for retirement and staff turnover. [8]

Junior doctors contract[edit]

In February 2016, the chief executive of HEE Ian Cumming sent a letter to all the chief executives of NHS Foundation trusts indicating that the organisation could cut funding for training posts in any trust which refused to impose the new juniors doctor contract.[9] In January 2017, emails seen by the newspaper The Independent showed that HEE sent drafts of the letter to the Department of Health and that the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt was aware of the letter prior to publication.[10]


  1. ^ "Chief leaves trust after 25 years for national role". Health Service Journal. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Dr Harpreet Sood appointed to Health Education England's board". digitalhealth. 26 August 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b "About Health Education England". Health Education England. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ Linton, Shaun (5 May 2017). "Junior doctors get new whistleblowing protection after HEE loses court case". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ Cooper, Benedict (5 June 2020). "'I was left to fight alone for NHS whistleblowing protection'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  6. ^ Norman Lamb (3 July 2019). "Whistleblowing". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons.
  7. ^ "Implementation of the Health and Social Care Act". British Medical Journal. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Health Education England reveals plan to deliver 80k additional NHS staff". Health Service Journal. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  9. ^ Elgot, Jessica (17 February 2016). "Hospital trusts threatened with cuts if they refuse to impose new contracts". The Guardian.
  10. ^ Khan, Shehab (5 January 2017). "Emails show Jeremy Hunt's Department of Health 'colluded' with 'independent' body to impose junior doctor contracts". The Independent.

External links[edit]