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Pay restraint for NHS nurses and other public sector workers is to continue until 2020 as planned, despite indications from prime minister Theresa May that the government has abandoned its financial austerity targets

A letter sent last month from the Treasury to one of the government’s pay review bodies reiterated annual pay rises would be an average of 1%.

It has emerged that plans by Health Education England to train more nurses to eliminate the shortage in England by 2020 are reliant on providers reducing their demand for services. An HEE report has shown trusts are expecting their activity to grow in the coming years, meaning shortages could continue beyond 2020.

The scrapping of bursaries and switch to a loans system for student nurses in England from next year may not necessarily mean universities will increase their training places as suggested by the government, a university dean has warned. Buckinghamshire New University’s dean of health, Sue West, said the number of course places was dependant on the availability of placements and the funding for organisations providing them.

Meanwhile, Nursing Times’ editor Jenni Middleton, along with editors of two other leading nursing journals, has written to the prime minister urging her to reverse the decision to cut bursaries.

Greater Manchester has been in the spotlight this week, with two trusts criticised for several problems, such as staffing shortfalls, in reports by the Care Quality Commission. At Stockport Foundation Trust inspectors found district nurses routinely working beyond contracted hours due to shortages. Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust - rated “inadequate” - had significant shortages in medical, midwifery and nurse staffing establishments.

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