Health Education England and NHS England complete merger

NHS England and Health Education England have legally merged to create a new, single organisation to lead the NHS in England.

This follows the merger of NHS Digital and NHS England on the 1 February 2023, and brings the NHS’ people, skills, digital, data and technology expertise together into one national organisation.

As the body responsible for the education and training of the health workforce, Health Education England has played a critical role in improving the quality of health and care services and growing the number of staff working in the NHS over the last decade.

The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world, with 1.3 million staff, and the compassion, skill and dedication of its workforce remains the driving force in delivering high-quality care and enabling NHS patients to benefit from world-leading research, innovation and technology.

Following parliamentary approval, the legal merger was formally confirmed at the end of last week, with the regulations which transfer the functions of Health Education England to NHS England made by ministers on 28th March 2023.

The transfer sees NHS England assume responsibility for all activities previously undertaken by Health Education England, including planning, recruiting, educating and training the health workforce, and ensuring it has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours in place to support the delivery of excellent healthcare to patients and the public.

As a single, streamlined organisation, the new NHS England will build on the strengths and expertise of its legacy organisations, while avoiding duplicate activities – enabling it to be even more responsive to changing demand and to the biggest challenges, priorities and opportunities of the health system.

It is expected that, by the end of 2023/24, the new organisation will be between 30-40% smaller than the current combined size of NHS England, Health Education England and NHS Digital.

The new, more integrated organisation will also support and accelerate the move to greater partnership working through integrated care systems (placed on statutory footing from 1 July 2022), by speaking with a single national voice and modelling effective joint working.

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