Mental health trusts in London have slammed the quality of newly qualified nurses coming out of courses in the capital, Nursing Times has learnt.
Documents revealed in a Freedom of Information request show trust representatives criticising universities for producing “poor” newly qualified mental health nurses during a consultation exercise on standards.
The documents stated: “Trusts received an average of 30 plus applications per band 5 post and nearly half the respondents reported that as few as 0-4 applications were from ‘appointable’ candidates”.
The documents also reveal that the comments were cited by strategic health authority NHS London as grounds for carrying out a tendering exercise to find the best qualified higher education institutions in the capital.
A similar review for adult nursing courses in January resulted in the University of West London not being awarded numbers for future adult nursing cohorts, though it is still currently teaching its existing ones.
A spokesman for NHS London said it had subsequently decided that “whilst individual trusts strongly supported an intervention, there was not a collective consensus that such a response was necessary”.
There will instead be a nursing director-led “defined quality improvement programme to improve outcomes [from courses]”, he said.
An NHS senior source told Nursing Times that while the quality of mental health nurses produced by the universities was variable, the overall quality was not as bad as the document suggested.
The Council of Deans of Health, which represents nursing education providers, had not responded to requests for comment before Nursing Times went to press.
Mental health nursing is the second-largest type of nurse training commissioned by NHS London, with a student intake of 740 in 2011-12. The average attrition rate for the courses across the nine London universities is 31%, according to the SHA.