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NHS apprenticeships could cost us dear

Mike Travis warns of a huge unannounced funding cut to NHS spending

I want to alert people to a huge unannounced funding cut to NHS spending set to be imposed in April 2017.

This government initiative will see NHS trusts total employment bill (including pension contributions) top sliced by 0.5% to fund an increase in NHS apprenticeships. In my NHS trust that will be at least £750,000 not including pension contributions.

The imposition of this 'levy' will be in addition to the continual cost improvement programmes, which currently focus on reducing employment costs through a series of reorganisations and offering mutually agreed severance schemes. These will affect the delivery of clinical services greatly.

But what is of great concern is that all of the levy collected could be channeled into the private sector to deliver these apprenticeship schemes without any idea of how they are going to be implemented. 

NHS Trusts will need guidance from the tax office on how to internally fund these schemes, together with advice on how to calculate and pay the levy. It is worrying that none of this information is available at present.

Given the state of the economy, this initiative will severely restrict NHS funds for the maintenance and development of clinical services for the foreseeable future.        

Mike Travis

RCN activist

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