Cuts in funding for nurses’ CPD must be reversed immediately

The decision to reduce funding for nurses’ continuing professional development was daft. Now a report by MPs says the cuts should be reversed, advice that Health Education England should act on immediately

Of all the cuts made in the interest of balancing the books in recent years, there was one that made no sense on any level: reducing significantly the money available to fund nurses’ continuing professional development was daft in the short, medium and long term.

The body responsible, Health Education England (HEE), has now been advised to reverse its decision by the Commons health committee, which comprises a group of MPs set up to hold the government to account. HEE should heed the advice forthwith.

The health committee spent the final few months of 2017 conducting an inquiry into the state of the nursing workforce in England, and the resultant report has been described by the RCN as the most important on the subject for years.

Safeguarding staff

The recommendations are sweeping. They include a call on chief nursing officer Jane Cummings to write to all nurse directors to check that nurses are able to conduct safe patient handovers without ‘routinely staying late’, and that they have time for breaks.

Action to tackle high student attrition rates, define the nurse associate role and develop an ethical overseas recruitment programme is also demanded. And that’s just for starters.

Much as it is tempting to blame those in charge now, the person who set up the labyrinthine structures and alphabet soup of NHS organisations that are being asked to clear up the mess has departed the scene. If there were a register of politicians, former health secretary Andrew Lansley should have been struck off. Instead, he was made a member of the House of Lords.

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