The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Health Education England is urging trusts not to let education fall by the wayside while focusing on elective recovery.

Its deputy medical director for education reform has gone a step further and called for them to focus on training recovery and service recovery at the same time.

“Education tends to get pushed down when anyone thinks about anything urgent as a priority,” Dr Sheona MacLeod told HSJ as their interim report on training recovery was published. “We have to continue to develop trainees.”

HEE is clear that simply extending doctors’ training is not enough and also far too expensive (to the tune of £350m) so more must be done to reframe how existing funding is used.

She highlighted giving supervisors and educators more time to train as a key way to help junior doctors catch up and stressed the need to balance bringing down waiting lists and keeping training going.

Although HSJ has published criticism before about the first-time deal between HEE and the private sector to provide training opportunities, and something also described by Dr McLeod as “variable”, HEE is clear in its report this will continue to be important in the future.

HEE has received £30m from the government for recovery medical training and it’s unclear if more funding will be available and whether it will be enough to carve out valuable time for trainees to learn, supervisors to teach and doctors to do their training wherever they need to. But without it HEE has warned service delivery post-covid will ultimately be at stake.

New headteacher

Yesterday NHS England announced that chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex FT Nick Hulme would lead the covid vaccine delivery for 12 to 15-year-olds.

While not explicitly stated by NHSE, it’s clear Mr Hulme has been recruited to speed up what has so far been a very slow rollout across this group.

So far only 12.1 per cent of 12 to 15 year olds have received their first dose of the vaccine since they became eligible in September, according to government figures. Uptake among older teenagers – 16 to 17 year olds – has been slightly better, with 56.7 per cent accepting their first dose since they became eligible in August.

However, NHSE has been forced to act quickly amid a sharp rise in infections among secondary school children since the start of the autumn term.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics showing that infection rates among children in school years 7 to 11 (11 to 15 years old) have increased rapidly since September from around 2 per cent to 6.9 per cent as of 2 October.

The reasons behind the slow rollout in schools is unclear. But it’s now very unlikely the government will hit its target of vaccinating all 12 to 15-year-olds by half term, posing further threat to the quality of their education.