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Post-registration training cuts revealed


Nurses working in specialist areas, mental health and schools are bearing the brunt of training cuts, figures obtained by Nursing Times reveal.

The data provides a detailed breakdown of the areas of post-registration nursing training in which regions are investing most – and least – heavily this year.

The number of nurses being trained as health visitors has rocketed from 545 in 2010-11 to 1,546 in 2011-12 – a 184% increase – reflecting the government’s pledge to recruit 4,200 more health visitors by 2015.

The number of health workers being trained in the band 4 assistant practitioner role has also grown significantly, from 881 last year to 1,607 this year.

But strategic health authorities are funding just 91 new advanced or specialist practitioners, down from 119 last year. There are only seven places on community mental health nursing training courses – down from nine the previous year – and 206 on school nurse courses, compared with 212 last year.

No region is paying for new emergency care practitioners to be trained, after training 132 last year. The relatively new emergency care practitioner role allows specialist nurses to treat patients with urgent conditions in their homes.

NHS East Midlands will not be paying for any new district nurses this year but commissioned 14 last year. In 2010-11 it trained 12 new school nurses but will not be training any this year.

Yorkshire and Humber will fund no training for new occupational health nurses or practice nurses.

The figures also confirm places on pre-registration nursing courses have dropped by 10% this year across the country. This varies from an 18% drop in the West Midlands to a 4% reduction in the North East.

Overall, places on degrees, as opposed to diplomas, are increasing due to the move to an all-graduate nursing workforce, but child nursing degrees are being reduced by 7% in the North West and 4% in the South West.

Royal College of Nursing acting education advisor Gill Robertson said: “We’d be concerned to see reductions in training for school nurses and in child nursing given the obesity agenda. It’s strange that costs seem to be getting taken out of primary care when that’s where the focus of care is meant to be going.”

She added that, despite financial pressures, it looked unlikely that nursing students would be asked to contribute towards their university tuition fees.  At a meeting with unions two weeks ago, health minister Anne Milton confirmed such a move was “not on the agenda”, according to Ms Robertson.


Post registration training commissions

                                                2010-11 2011-12 % increase                                           

Health visitors                                545                  1,546                 184

School nurses                                212                  206                         -3

Occupational health nurse               33                    11                          -67

Community nurse mental health      9                       7                           -22

Emergency care practitioners        132                     0                           -100

Advanced/specialist practitioner     119                    91                           -24





Readers' comments (8)

  • This is absolutely appalling, wasn't the government supposed to be ensuring that we have a robust post reg training programme? If it is mandatory for us to keep up to date with our CPD, then surely employers have an obligation to provide that for us?

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  • what a circus? the government don't seem to have the foggiest idea of what they are doing or even saying and the headlines are continuously conflicting.

    People would perhaps like to be free to get on with their jobs, and especially nurses before standards drop even further and more lives are lost, as well as their personal lives without all these constant anxieties which make any sort of planning impossible.

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  • Why would you want to work in the NHS if you have the option to emigrate or do something else with your qualification? It is a terrible employer.

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  • Just to add to my above point the money seems to be wasted on ticking organizational objectives which have nothing much to do with our practice and dishing out sinecures to Clinical Practice Educators who do next to nothing. No one would be dumb enough to part with their own cash for the quality of the courses offered. And don't forget its all everyone is a winner essay assesment when it should be examination and OSCE - after all it is about skills and knowledge not reflection.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Jul-2011 12:17 pm

    i did just that and had a long and successful, enjoyable and well paid career in internal medical bedside nursing which was the specialization of my choice. the only snag was in the last few years my hospital got to hear of general management, targets and cost cutting and attractive highly paid managerial jobs where they do 'b' all which ruined everything and our salaries were cut to support this new structure!

    family circumstances brought me back to britain where I discovered the non-existant career path there so i left the uk again at the earliest opportunity.

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  • Don't know where this journalist has got the data, but this is sensationalist and simply not true as I personally have access to current data that disproves some of the supposed statements of fact in this article.
    People responding to this article have, quite simply, been misled as the commissioning of education very closely follows what service colleagues claim to require. Very poor article!

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  • Anonymous | 6-Jul-2011 7:46 am really? I would like to see your evidence, as my personal experience on the ground is that it is almost impossible to get CPD training funded by the trust. They just will not fund it.

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  • It is impossible to recieve compulsory training eg CPR updates in then NHS, especially if you are a bank nurse. They will not fund any updates at all.

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