New NHS workforce plan put on hold amid budget talks
The publication of the first national plan for the health workforce has been delayed by Health Education England, as discussions with the Department of Health over its budget allocation continue.
The £5bn education and training provider was expecting to reveal its draft first national plan for the future supply of NHS staff at its board meeting today.
But the meeting was cancelled after it emerged details of Health Education England’s 2014 budget could be revealed sooner than previously thought.
The draft document would give details of the number of nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff Health Education England expects to train from 2014 onwards. A final plan will be drawn up early in the new year.
The workforce plan is expected to propose an increase in the number of registered nurses. The nurse level stabilised this year after several years of cuts.
Following the Francis report NHS trusts are planning for 3,700 extra nurses this year, but many report a shortage in the number available. A recent invesigation by Nursing Times has revealed that at least 40 trusts have recruited nurses from overseas in the past 12 months.
A Health Education England spokesman said: “The intention was to publish a first plan in December based on modelling of our final allocation from the Department of Health, with a final version next February or March when that allocation was known.
“We believe we may now be able to get an earlier indication of that allocation, which would allow us to publish just one final report. We have therefore postponed our board meeting for a short while to discuss this with the Department of Health.”
A DH spokeswoman added: “We are currently in discussions with Health Education England regarding their funding allocation for the next financial year.
“We look forward to seeing their final workforce plan once these discussions have been concluded. The plan will help make sure that we are training the right number of staff, with the right skills and values for the NHS.”
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