latest health care news

21.09.16

‘Short-sighted’ training cuts are harming nursing workforce

Cuts to ongoing education funding for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are being implemented with little strategic planning and will harm NHS reforms in the long term, the Council of Deans of Health has warned.

Its new report, ‘A False Economy: Cuts to Continuing Professional Development Funding for nursing, midwifery and the Allied Health Professionals in England’, examines the impact of recent cuts to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) budget.

The CPD is administered by Health Education England for short courses, modules and programmes designed to meet the needs of the NHS workforce at national, regional and local levels.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said: “We urgently need more joined-up thinking about funding for education and training for these professions.

“There is a clear gap between the government’s strategies to transform services by deploying nurses, midwives and AHPs in new roles and these short-sighted cuts. These cuts are difficult for universities but will have a far greater impact on the NHS and its ability to deliver its own objectives.”

All 13 Local Education and Training boards (LETBs) in England reported cuts to their CPD budget in 2016-17, the report said.

These also varied greatly by region, from 13% cuts in the West Midlands to 45% cuts in the north east.

Many university deans also reported only being informed of their funding in late May or early June, forcing them to ‘guesstimate’ their budget when they had already offered students places.

The deans interviewed for the report said that forcing students to self-fund would lead to a substantial drop in applicants. They would be particularly discouraged from training in London, where the cost of living for NHS staff is already extremely expensive.

The report also said that the spending cuts were “at odds” with the Five Year Forward View and General Practice Forward View, both of which require substantial changes to workforce roles.

It called on the government to “recognise the gap” between its priorities for the NHS and the spending cuts.

This should be followed by a national discussion, involving NHS England and NHS Improvement as well as Health Education England and the Department of Health, to develop a strategic approach to funding changes.

Stephanie Aiken, deputy director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This report highlights yet another case of cuts without thought for the impact on staff and patients. Funding for training and development has been cut almost by half, yet the strategy for the health service and the care it delivers has not adapted to reflect this loss.

“If the government wants to achieve the goal of safe and up to date care, it needs to provide the funding for training, development and education – it’s that simple. If the two remain disconnected the health service cannot deliver to current and future needs.”

Dr Myra Stern, director of CPD for the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK, said: "CPD is a vital part of the education and training of any health professional, not an optional extra.  This report from the Council of Deans of Health is worrying on several counts – the likely effect of the budget cuts, the variation in strategic priorities across the country, and the lack of focus on CPD that will transform the way we provide care – we agree that these issues need to be addressed urgently."

Rob Smith, director of planning and strategy, called the report “misleading”, saying CPD is “primarily an employer responsibility”.

“The report refers to our workforce development fund that covers a broad range of investment based on local NHS priorities, some of which has supported specific CPD programmes in addition to employers’ own CPD primary responsibility, but this is not and never has been a CPD-specific budget,” he added.

The Department of Health also recently announced that it is abolishing bursaries for student nurses and other healthcare professionals, leading to warnings that this could cause staff numbers to fall further.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took st... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >