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Hospital trust brings training for its nursing staff in-house following funding cuts

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A hospital trust is bringing some of its specialist nurse training in-house for the first time to help save money in the face of ongoing cuts to continuing professional development budgets.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will provide master’s level training in neuroscience and ophthalmology from September.

“As we see CPD funding cut, it is more beneficial for us to deliver programmes in-house. It is more sustainable”

Fiona Creed

It said its decision to stop sending staff on university courses for the training was partly due to national CPD budget reductions, but also because it wanted to provide programmes in the local area and improve retention of nurses.

Previously, nurses and other clinicians at the trust had to go to London for training, which was costly, but the organisation had since realised it employed specialist nurses and teaching staff who had the expertise to deliver the courses.

As a result, more nurses and other practitioners will now be able to take part in the year-long programmes, it said.

A total of 14 practitioners – including 12 nurses – will begin the neuroscience training next month, while seven nurses will start the ophthalmology course.

Nurses who complete the trust’s new training programmes will receive either a postgraduate certificate in advanced neuroscience practice or postgraduate certificate in advanced person-centred ophthalmic care, both of which are accredited by the University of Northampton.

Over time, it is hoped that fewer staff will leave the organisation as the trust introduces further postgraduate training in other specialties and also extends its ophthalmology programme to more services including accident and emergency and the community.

“It may be that nurses also have to fund their own CPD”

Fiona Creed

In-house renal neurology and perioperative programmes are expected to begin in January. Meanwhile, the trust is also considering developing programmes with other healthcare employers in the area, so they can buy courses off each other for less money than a university.

“As we see CPD funding cut, it is more beneficial for us to deliver programmes in-house. It is more sustainable,” Fiona Creed, the trust’s academic programme accreditation lead told Nursing Times.

“But there were also other drivers behind the decision,” she said. “We didn’t have anything locally in some specialties and felt we were losing staff because we didn’t have the programmes we wanted to offer.” 

However, she said that, while she believed NHS trusts would increasingly look to provide training themselves, it would not be possible to stop using university-based courses altogether.

“I don’t think it can be the total solution, because it would be very difficult to replicate the provision universities are able to offer. I think what we might see is more collaboration between trust and university programmes to bring the costs down,” she said.

“It may be that nurses also have to fund their own CPD if we can’t offer it in-house at a reduced price,” she warned.

Earllier this week, Nursing Times revealed a national 20% reduction by Health Education England to budgets used by trusts and universities to pay for CPD.

This followed a national cut of almost 50% the year before, which sparked concerns about patient safety due to fewer nurses being able to access ongoing training.

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