CPD funding: I promise budget cuts will be reversed, says head of NHS England

Simon Stevens tells chief nurse’s summit funding will be restored over next five years

Simon Stevens tells chief nurses’ summit funding will be restored over next five years

Picture: Southwest News Service

The head of NHS England has given a personal guarantee to restore funding for nurses' continuing professional development (CPD).

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens vowed to reverse budget cuts as part of current funding and workforce talks, during a speech at the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s Summit.

A promise to nurses

Simon Stevens.
Picture: Barney Newman

‘You have my personal guarantee we will go in to bat and get a restoration, phased over the next five years, of the budgets we need for CPD,’ he told the conference in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Health Education England’s workforce development budget was cut by 60% over the past two years, falling from £205 million in 2015-16 to £83.49 million in 2017-2018.

Revalidation requirement

Nurses must complete at least 35 hours' CPD every three years in order to revalidate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Despite this, there is no automatic protection for the time they need to undertake it.

However, nurses in Scotland may be the first in the UK to have legally-protected CPD time – if amendments to the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) bill becomes law.

Last year, an RCN report said nurses risked failing to revalidate because of a lack of protected CPD time.

Lack of training is demoralising

Responding to Mr Stevens’ comments, RCN acting general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘Nurses at every stage in their career will be pleased to hear the personal commitment by Simon Stevens.

‘Lack of training opportunities are regularly cited by nurses in surveys as one of the main reasons they are unhappy and may leave their jobs.’

Pre-registration education

Professor Kinnair also welcomed comments by Mr Stevens about the need to expand undergraduate nursing places.

She added: ‘The most effective way to ensure this is to invest £1 billion immediately in nurse higher education, in order to reverse the serious fall in the number of students taking nursing degree courses.’

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