Government funding for continuing professional development (CPD) for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals will be cut by up to a half in 2016/17, a new report has found.
The report from the Council of Deans, A false economy, found that CPD funding is being cut by between 13% and 45% across England, with the northeast taking the worst hit.
Every local education and training board, apart from Health Education England (HEE) Wessex where it was reported that CPD funding would remain the same, has announced cuts.
The cuts were said to be the result of a national decision from HEE to reduce workforce development funding by 49.1%.
CPD funding goes towards courses in prescribing, dementia care and psychological therapies, among others.
The report also says the cuts with have a major impact on mentoring programs.
It says: “The cuts are also already damaging mentorship preparation for NHS staff in some areas, courses which are crucial to delivering the pre-registration programmes for nursing, midwifery and AHPs that the Government wants to expand in England.”
Launched at The Queen’s Nursing Institute’s (QNI) Annual Conference yesterday, Professor Dame Jessica Corner, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, told delegates the cuts are to courses needed to help the workforce meet goals laid out in the Five Year Forward View.
Corner said: “There was no notice, no conversation, no strategic discussion about this with service providers or with universities. It has just been done.
“How can we have on the one hand a Five Year Forward View and those fundamentals that [Simon] Stevens is talking about, on the other hand we’re just taking away the ability to train people to do that.”
In the Five Year Forward View, NHS England said new care models “simply won’t become a reality, unless we have a workforce with the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours to deliver it”.
Ann Keen, a fellow of the QNI, said she hopes “the CNO [Chief Nursing Officer] of England would be brought to account on this as well”.
She said: “The reality is we do carry the can for poor care, we do carry the can when staffing levels are low and we will carry the can when we don’t have professional development.
“It will be our fault and it is not our fault, but it will be and I will blame myself and every other nurse, if we don’t stand up now and say: ‘We are not just a nurse, we are professional, educated, knowledgeable clinicians and we need to continue to professionally develop to continue to serve our patients.’”