In today’s Spending Round, the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, will announce a £210 million boost for frontline NHS staff which includes funding for a £1,000 personal development budget for every nurse, midwife and allied health professional to support their continuing professional development (CPD) needs over three years of the revalidation cycle.
Access to additional training is regularly cited as an issue affecting morale and retention for nurses.
A release from the Treasury states that the funding boost is part of a wider drive to improve recruitment, retention and staff morale through the development of the NHS People Plan. In addition to the personal development budgets provided centrally by government for this year, employers will also be expected to provide additional funding locally to invest in their staff.
Mr Javid said, ‘This is a Spending Round to support and celebrate our public services, getting cash to those on the frontline, including delivering on our promises to the NHS. Our nurses, midwives and other dedicated NHS professionals care for us when we need it most, so it’s right that we support them to develop rewarding and fulfilling careers and continue to deliver the highest standards of care for patients.’
As noted in a release from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Health Education England (HEE) budget for workforce development, which is the central government contribution towards nurses’ CPD, has been cut from £205 million in 2015/16 to £84 million in 2019/20 (an increase of £30m this year is a ring-fenced fund only for Nursing Associates, rather than Registered Nurses).
Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN’s chief executive and general secretary said, ‘After years of cutbacks, this announcement may start to put things right. Nurses will see it as an acknowledgement that the Government sees investment in professional development as important.
‘This will help to ensure every individual nurse can access the training they need to increase their skills and knowledge further – though it needs to be extended to all nursing staff, not just those in the Health Service.’
Dame Donna further urged the Government to ‘address the current workforce crisis in the NHS by investing £1 billion in nurse higher education to increase our domestic supply of nurses’.
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England, Ruth May, said, ‘More staff, working in rewarding jobs and supportive environments, will be key to delivering the improvements for patients we set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. The nurses, midwives, care workers and other staff I speak to across England tell me time and again how important ongoing training is when they are thinking about their next career move, so I know today’s signal of intent will be welcomed across the health service’.