We believe in the power of learning at Nursing Times.
Every article you read from our clinical archive, online or in the pages of this magazine, every learning unit you complete and each event you attend should ensure you learn something that improves your practice and helps you to deliver safe, high-quality care.
We are passionate about learning because continuing professional development (CPD) underpins your place on the register as a regulated health professional. After all, it is the reason revalidation was introduced last year. However, yet again the government, through Health Education England (HEE), is slashing the budget available to fund CPD for NHS workers
”The government’s austerity has led to it allocating less money to its nursing workforce”
Our story on page 8 reveals that there is a national cut of about 20% this year to ‘workforce development’. The budget has been cut from £104.3m in 2016-17 to £83.49m. It is the second year running we have seen cuts to this budget – amounting to a reduction of around 60% in two years, from £205m in 2015-16 to £83.49m for 2017- 18. While it is HEE’s decision how to allocate its funds, it’s undoubtedly true that the government’s austerity has led to it allocating less money to its nursing workforce.
While Jeremy Hunt waxes lyrical about the need to take on more staff to ease the severe nursing shortage, the government seems to be doing everything it can to lose the NHS talent it already has. Fresh from the ruinous removal of the bursary, which has seen student nurse applications fall off a cliff, the Conservatives continue to fi nd ways to deter people from working in the NHS.
It’s not just individual nurses who suffer – trusts that are struggling to recruit new nurses to fill empty posts will now find it even harder to hold onto the engaged and talented nurses they already have. And let’s not forget that CPD is not just some frivolous incentive – it is about supporting learning that updates practice and improves patient experience, care, outcomes and of course, safety.
Frankly, the health secretary’s claim that patient safety is his top priority – and his professed desire to ensure the NHS has a culture where mistakes are owned up to and learned from – now seems nothing more than empty words. This government does not want well-educated, experienced and informed health professionals. It wants nursing and care on the cheap. That becomes more obvious every day.