CPD funding cuts prove costly for the profession

Health Education England has cut its CPD budget for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by more than half since 2015 – with significant, negative consequences, writes editor Graham Scott

How could this have been allowed to happen? Since 2015, the organisation responsible for nurses’, midwives’ and allied health professionals’ continuing professional development (CPD) in England has reduced the funding available from £205 million a year to £83 million. The consequences are there for all to see.

Health Education England (HEE) purports to exist for one reason only: to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place.

Quite how HEE expects to achieve these noble aims while making such dramatic cuts to CPD funding is anyone’s guess.

Failure to invest

An ongoing inquiry by MPs on the Commons health committee into the nursing workforce has been told in no uncertain terms that such cuts are having a significant, negative impact on retention.

Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Jackie Smith told the committee that a failure to invest in nurses’ future is a contributory factor in recent falls in the number of registrants.

Brian Webster-Henderson, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, echoed her comments, saying: ‘This is not the time to be cutting CPD, this is a time to be investing in the workforce.’

Hopefully the inquiry’s findings will lead to a dramatic rethink that results in the nursing workforce receiving more support, not less.

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