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Exclusive: government must recognise ‘critical importance’ of CPD for nurses

The government must recognise the critical importance of continuing professional development (CPD) to nurses, according to the body that represents the UK’s university faculties for nursing.

The government must recognise the critical importance of continuing professional development (CPD) to nurses, according to the body that represents the UK’s university faculties for nursing.


Council of Deans of Health chair Dame Jessica Corner urged nurses to speak out about CPD

Council of Deans of Health (CoDH) chair Dame Jessica Corner said the organisation was ‘frustrated and depressed’ by the lack of political response to its recent report about CPD budget cuts.

The report A False Economy, published in September, revealed that local education and training board budgets for CPD provision in 2016-17 had been cut by up to 45% in some areas of the country, with no warning given.

CPD funding supports the delivery of short courses, modules and programmes that allow nurses to accrue specialist or advanced practice knowledge and enable the delivery of safe, up-to-date care.

‘Not good enough’

At the time of its publication, Health Education England (HEE) director of strategy and planning Rob Smith said the report was misleading about the extent of HEE’s involvement in CPD.

He said his organisation did not receive a specific CPD allocation and this area was primarily an employer’s responsibility.

Professor Corner urged nurses to speak out about CPD: ‘We need to say this is not good enough. Our voice has not come through and we should not allow that to continue.’

She added that nurses’ issues were being drowned out by the ‘very loud’ voice of junior doctors.

Risky move

Professor Corner said that cutting CPD training budgets had put at risk strategic plans to transform the NHS, and that there was a lack of joined-up thinking from ministers.

‘There is no coherence to this. It looks like cuts to the budget are just about affordability and funding availability,’ she said.

‘As any nurse knows, graduating does not finish your career development, it is just the beginning.’

She said nurses’ professional roles could not be developed without adequate funding for training, citing mentorship and prescribing training as examples.

‘There are many educational areas that come out of CPD funds, including leadership development, advanced clinical practice and specific courses such as end of life care or diabetes management.’

Other disciplines

Professor Corner pointed out that postgraduate training for certain NHS professional groups was supported, well-managed and embedded in the system within clear pathways.

‘Think about medicine – postgraduate training is funded and organised alongside employment by the NHS,’ she said. ‘We are seeing a complete erosion of that for the nursing profession.

‘The need for nurses to study is not recognised. We require time out from work to be able to study; it is important for the profession and provides a lot back to employing organisations.

‘Are we saying nurses and allied health professionals pay for their postgraduate training? Nobody is looking at this.’


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