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Confusion over apprenticeships is putting health visiting at risk

An urgent rethink is required to secure funding for health visitor training, writes Karen Stansfield.

The development of apprenticeship standards is a complex process. While it is expected that standards will be in place for specialist community public health nurses - health visitors, school nurses and occupational health nurses - by September 2018, this is not guaranteed.

Early data indicate that employers have not taken to pre-registration nursing apprenticeships. This may be because drawing down the monies from the apprenticeship levy is complex and it is a more expensive model of funding education.

Previously Health Education England (HEE) would fund the higher education institution’s course fees and the salary to 'backfill' clinical posts while students were on health visiting programmes. The apprenticeship model of funding only covers course fees, leaving employers covering the cost of 'backfill'.

The new triad of stakeholders with key roles in health visitor training – local authorities, HEE and employers – is still


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