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Health Education England proposes national mentoring service to support junior doctors during COVID-19 epidemic

9 April 2020

Health Education England (HEE) has expressed concern about the service pressures that trainees and in particular, young clinical academics may find themselves in during the Covid 19 emergency. HEE recognises that the available levels of supervision and support in the clinical service may not meet previously expected levels.

As a result, HEE is proposing a new national mentoring service run through its Local Offices which would be supported by retired medical educators and clinical academics. This group will have the time and capacity to be available to support junior colleagues. In addition HEE anticipates that retired clinical educators and other leaders such as academics could backfill educational functions within HEE’s Local Offices releasing current clinical educators to return to clinical medicine.

In collaboration with Royal Colleges and the AoMRC, HEE will work on publicising this new service. The role will provide crucial support to junior doctors, eligible candidates are encouraged to approach HEE to join this scheme.

Speaking on the announcement of the scheme, Professor Wendy Reid Acting Chief Executive HEE said:

“I would like to personally thank all of the many doctors and clinicians who have already pledged your support during this very difficult time. I do appreciate that everyone’s circumstance will be different but I sincerely hope if you are able, you will volunteer your skills and experience for this scheme to support our trainees during this COVID-19 emergency.”

John Howard, FRCGP, a retired GP who spent the last ten years of his career working in medical education has agreed to return to HEE to support current junior doctors in this important fight. John said:

“Having spent 43 years of my life working for patients as a GP and particularly as a GP educator before retiring, I am keen to use my experience in the best way possible to support the brilliant and dedicated young clinicians in the NHS. I know my skills will be best used to ensure the highest possible standards of education and care for the wellbeing of colleagues are available during this emergency.”

Prof Simon Gregory DL, Deputy Medical Director, Primary and Integrated Care, HEE said:

“It is vital that our trainees are fully supported; we absolutely value the wisdom these colleagues will bring back. They will be providing expert guidance and support in recruitment, assessment, supervision and vital debriefs. I look forward to welcoming and working with our valued colleagues.”