A senior government advisor on NHS education and training has spoken of her “concern” at some trusts’ “disinterest” in training and called for newly qualified nurses to be properly supported.
The call comes as evidence shows of a lack of nursing input into the new bodies due to take over control of local education and training budgets for NHS staff.
Dame Julie Moore, chief executive of University of Birmingham Hospitals Foundation Trust, was the lead author of a report on education and training submitted to ministers last week by the NHS Future Forum.
Dame Julie, who has a nursing background, told Nursing Times: “I’m concerned in some areas there’s a lack of interest in training. Education is often seen as a second tier activity compared with research.”
She emphasised her report’s findings that many nurses were not being offered a preceptorship after qualifying, an issue also identified by the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010.
Dame Julie said: “A lot of people coming into nursing are young people who need the right support and guidance in the right environment, and to be sure of the standards that are expected. Employers must ensure they provide this.”
She suggested Department of Health plans to hold trusts to account for training budgets would provide a greater “incentive” for them to prioritise it.
But Nursing Times has found nursing leaders are being given little input into the local boards being set up to distribute and monitor £5bn of training money to trusts in future. This is despite the fact that nurses make up around half of the clinical workforce.
Evidence gathered by Nursing Times suggests there will at least 14 Local Education and Training Boards around the country, which will operate in shadow form from April and become fully operational in 2013.
But the shadow board of 14 for the South Central region has no nurses on it and the North East looks set to have a steering group led by trust chief executives, with nurses only present on a secondary “partnership council”. The North West’s three emerging boards will have two nurse directors, while Yorkshire’s shadow board has one nurse but four doctors.
Board papers reveal that the Royal College of Nursing has raised concerns about the situation in the North West.