Nurses’ CPD budgets: ‘severity of cuts has been underestimated’

Council of Deans of Health said spending on non-medical clinicians' training has dropped by as much as 60%

Council of Deans of Health said spending on non-medical clinicians' training has dropped by as much as 60%

Picture: Nathan Clarke

The organisation representing nursing education in UK universities says cuts to NHS training budgets have been drastically underestimated.

This assessment from the Council of Deans of Health follows research from the Labour Party claiming the NHS workforce training budget has shrunk by 4.7% in five years.

Council of Deans of Health chair,
Brian Webster-Henderson

But the council says nurses and other non-medical clinicians have experienced cuts of as much as 60% to their training budgets just 2015-17. This percentage cut reflects the budget drop from £205 million in 2015-16 to £83.5 million in 2017-18 for non-medical clinical staff's continuing professional development (CPD) by Health Education England (HEE).

‘Headline figures mask deep cuts’

Council of Deans of Health chair Brian Webster-Henderson said: 'Headline figures for HEE expenditure mask the deep cuts to workforce development funding for non-medical clinical staff, who saw cuts to funding for continuing professional development of 60% between 2015 and 2017.'

Professor Webster-Henderson added significantly increased investment in post-registration education is essential to support service quality, attract people to the profession, improve staff retention and support training capacity.

Anne Corrin, RCN head of learning
and development

RCN head of professional learning and development Anne Corrin said: 'Along with extremely difficult working conditions, cuts to CPD programmes are one of the main reasons for wanting to leave the profession cited to us by nurses. Any future funding allocated to trusts for CPD must be ring-fenced.'

The Labour research claims HEE has been forced to reduce its NHS workforce and training expenditure by 7.6% in real terms between 2013-14 to 2017-18.

Labour says funding as a percentage of the Department of Health and Social Care’s overall budget has fallen year on year since 2013-14 to 3.9% in 2017-18.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jonathan Ashworth, told the Commons on Tuesday: 'The HEE training budget is the lowest it’s been for five years and is set to be cut even further next year.'

HEE was invited to comment.

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