NHS – Health Education England: Charlie

Providing up-to-date guidance and information for trainee doctors and dentists in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

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NHS Health Education England (HEE) supports the delivery of healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place. Supporting over 160,000, HEE’s work covers more than 100 programmes from planning and commissioning, to recruiting and developing healthcare staff in a range of healthcare and community settings. 

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, HEE has experienced an unprecedented increase in enquiries about how COVID-19 has impacted recruitment and training. The organisation needed a solution that would provide easily accessible, accurate responses to a host of common questions, while helping to free up its staff to deal with more unusual or complex concerns.


Using EBM and the Fast Track Coronavirus Response solution, we helped HEE to rapidly develop ‘Charlie’, a chatbot that provides 24/7 answers about the impact that the pandemic is having on recruitment and training for doctors, dentists, nurses and many more roles. 

Charlie is integrated into the COVID-19 guidance pages on the HEE website so users can easily access the bot wherever they are browsing. Charlie is now trained to handle over 200 FAQs (with more being added as the pandemic evolves) as well as allowing users to follow more complex conversational flows to help them find the information they need. 

We also trained the HEE team to use EBM to monitor interactions with Charlie. This enables HEE to gain an understanding of users’ needs, edit the responses and add new content on a daily basis.


  • Correctly answered 93% of user queries
  • Received great user feedback: 60% Very helpful, 25% Helpful 

We’re now working with HEE on implementing new virtual assistants to help different functions across the organisation.

“As a sector that has been hugely impacted by COVID-19 and the ever changing uncertainties and changes that it has brought. Our chatbots have been invaluable in helping to deal with a very large volume of enquiries that would have gone straight to our inbox. Having a chatbot has really helped to relieve pressure on our very small team. The product itself is very easy to use which has really helped us to provide the most up-to-date information very promptly; additionally the analytics have provided very insightful information. The EBM team are so approachable and have been extremely helpful in getting our chatbot set up and all other support required.”

Gemma Palopoli Project Coordinator | NHS Health Education England

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