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‘Cuts to CPD funding will jeopardise NHS transformation plans’

The Council of Deans of Health criticised cuts to funding of nurses' continuing professional development, which it said is at odds with government plans to improve NHS care provision.
1 hour 2 empower

Cuts to continuing professional development (CPD) funding for nurses in England could jeopardise the transformation of NHS services, the Council of Deans of Health (CoDH) has warned.

The CoDH, which represents university health faculties, published a report, A false economy , on Tuesday (September 20), urging a review of cuts to CPD funding for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (AHPs).

The report is based on interviews with university deans across England who lead faculties providing CPD for healthcare professionals.

CPD provision is partly funded by Health Education England (HEE) through its local education and training boards (LETBs).

Short-sighted cuts

However, universities reported that the LETBs 2016-17 budgets for CPD have been cut by between 12% and 45%.

HEEs workforce development budget, which is partly

Cuts to continuing professional development (CPD) funding for nurses in England could jeopardise the transformation of NHS services, the Council of Deans of Health (CoDH) has warned.

​The CoDH, which represents university health faculties, published a report, A false economy, on Tuesday (September 20), urging a review of cuts to CPD funding for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (AHPs).

The report is based on interviews with university deans across England who lead faculties providing CPD for healthcare professionals.

CPD provision is partly funded by Health Education England (HEE) through its local education and training boards (LETBs).

Short-sighted cuts

However, universities reported that the LETBs’ 2016-17 budgets for CPD have been cut by between 12% and 45%. 

HEE’s workforce development budget, which is partly used to fund CPD programmes, has been cut by almost half, falling from £205 million in 2015-16 to £104 million in 2016-17.

NHS England’s five-year plan for the health service calls for more community provision and an upskilled workforce trained to work in diverse roles.  

CoDH chair Dame Jessica Corner said: ‘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.’  

Threat to mentor training 

Pre-registration education could also be affected, the report said, because universities will lose funding to train nurses to become clinical mentors for nursing students.

Some universities had to ‘guesstimate’ their CPD budgets which has threatened courses starting this month, the report warned.

RCN deputy director of nursing Stephanie Aiken said that without CPD, it is difficult to see how nurses can keep up with rapid changes in patient care.

#1hour2empower

RCNi launched its #1hour2empower campaign this year urging employers to ensure their nurses can complete one hour of CPD per month. 

HEE must find savings after its funding for the 2016/17 programme from the Department of Health was frozen at the same level as 2015/16 (£4.8 billion) in last year’s spending review.

HEE director of strategy and planning Rob Smith said the report was ‘misleading’ about the extent of HEE’s involvement in CPD because it does not receive a specific CPD allocation and it is primarily an employer's responsibility.

He added: ‘We are also making strategic investments in areas such as nurse associates in order to meet NHS priorities locally and nationally.’


Further information

The CoDH ‘false economy’ report

RCNi #1hour2empower campaign

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