News

Fears for funding of post-registration nurse training

Queen's Nursing Institute warns Health Education England may stop funding post-registration nurse education programmes next September
Funding

Senior nurses have warned post-registration training programmes for district and school nurses in England could be closed amid uncertainty over funding.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has voiced concerns that government funding for specialist nursing education programmes, such as district nursing, health visiting and school nursing, will be withdrawn from September next year.

It also understands that advanced practice, nurse practitioner and independent prescribing programmes will be affected.

Health Education England (HEE), which provides funding to higher education institutions for post-registration training courses, made £75 million available for post-registration courses for 2016/17. It has yet to announce its budget plans for 2017/18.

Open letter

In an open letter to the government, the QNI said removing funding could make some programmes unviable, leading to course closures and staff redundancies. They also warned the move would have a detrimental effect on patient care.

Queen's Nursing Institute chief

Senior nurses have warned post-registration training programmes for district and school nurses in England could be closed amid uncertainty over funding.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has voiced concerns that government funding for specialist nursing education programmes, such as district nursing, health visiting and school nursing, will be withdrawn from September next year.

It also understands that advanced practice, nurse practitioner and independent prescribing programmes will be affected.

Health Education England (HEE), which provides funding to higher education institutions for post-registration training courses, made £75 million available for post-registration courses for 2016/17. It has yet to announce its budget plans for 2017/18.

Open letter

In an open letter to the government, the QNI said removing funding could make some programmes unviable, leading to course closures and staff redundancies. They also warned the move would have a detrimental effect on patient care.

Queen's Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman

QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman questioned how nurses would be able to gain the skills needed to lead teams delivering care as if it shifts into the community – an aim of the NHS's Five Year Forward View – without the funding.

'Provider organisations need to plan their workforces and if there is going to be no funding, how will they create a suitable workforce for the patient need?'

Concerns have also been raised by the RCN and the Council of Deans of Health, which represents health faculties.

'Significant risk'

In a letter responding to the government’s consultation on nurse education funding, the QNI said: ‘Should funding be withdrawn for these post-registration programmes in 2017 there is a significant risk that there would be an immediate reduction in nurses undertaking post-registration specialist and advanced programmes.

‘Furthermore, with a reduction in student numbers, university programmes may become unviable, leading to the closure of specialist and advanced nursing programmes and consequent redundancies. Such a situation would take years to reverse.’

The RCN and the Council of Deans of Health (CoDH) told Nursing Standard they are concerned about the failure of the government to confirm the funding for programmes in 2017/18.

RCN's 'huge concern'

RCN head of education Anne Corrin said the government’s consultation did not explain how post-registration education will be funded.

‘It is of huge concern that they are funded,’ she added.

She added that the RCN has asked the government for reassurances that post-registration specialist and advanced programmes will be funded from 2017 onwards.

'It is certainly not clear how these programmes will be funded in future.'

No confirmation

A CoDH spokesperson said: 'Like many organisations, we are concerned that there has been no confirmation of the funding for post-registration courses from 2017/18 that are not in the scope of the bursary consultation. At a time when these courses are more necessary than ever to deliver the workforce transformation envisaged by the Five Year Forward View, HEE needs a credible long-term plan for funding this education provision.'

A HEE spokesperson said: ‘HEE will set out its plans for future workforce training commissions in its workforce plan for England, which is expected to be published by the end of December 2016.’

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