A false economy: cuts to CPD funding for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions

Council of Deans of Health | Published online September 2016

This report focuses on the impact of funding cuts across England to ongoing education and training for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (AHPs) and the risks this poses to the NHS. With the constant evolution of treatments and technology, as well as rapidly changing roles for many healthcare staff, ongoing education and training is an essential foundation for safe, effective care. Health Education England (HEE), an arm’s length body of the Department of Health (DH), funds a measure of this education through Continued Professional Development (CPD) for the nurses, midwives and AHPs that make up more than 75% of the health professional workforce.

The funding supports the delivery of short courses, modules and programmes that meet the needs of the NHS workforce at national, regional and local levels. For 2016/17 this funding in England has been the subject of deep cuts of up to 45%, often without much warning and with little evidence of strategic planning at national level. Funding for postgraduate medical education has continued to be protected.

Although these cuts will adversely affect universities, the most significant impact will be on the NHS workforce and the NHS’s ability to meet its own strategic objectives. Given the profound changes that are expected to nursing, midwifery and AHP roles as demand for services grows and patient needs and service configurations change, this transformation is at risk without investment in education and training. CPD is also equally important for sustaining core NHS services, such as accident and emergency and intensive care, where specialist and advanced practice knowledge and skills are required for staff to be able to deliver safe, up to date care.

There is already evidence that the significant cuts to mentorship budgets are damaging mentorship training for NHS staff, which is central to the current strategy to expand preregistration programmes in the coming years. The Government’s strategic priorities and these funding decisions simply do not add up

Read the full report here

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