Last month, Nursing Times revealed that £39m had been diverted from clinical training budgets in 2007-2008 by NHS London. It brings the total under-spent or taken from such budgets by strategic health authorities across England last year to £165m.
Geoff Martin, Health Emergency head of campaigns, said: ‘Siphoning funds from the NHS training budgets just at the time when there is growing evidence of a serious shortage of specialist staff in key areas is scandalous mismanagement which will have severe long tem consequences for patient care.
‘There’s no point the government bragging that the NHS has declared a massive surplus when a big chunk of that cash in the bank has been ripped off from funds that should have been used to train up the staff that we will need in the future,’ he added. ‘This is boom and bust economics of the very worst kind.’
An initial investigation, part of NT’s successful Time Out for Training campaign for ring-fenced education budgets, revealed that more than £103m had been diverted or under-spent by eight SHAs. The new total includes the addition of the London figure, plus a £22m under-spend by NHS West Midlands revealed in board papers last month.