Up to an extra £10m will be invested in student nurse placements to increase workforce numbers, Health Education England chief nurse Mark Radford announced yesterday.
Mr Radford also revealed plans to boost the learning disability workforce alongside an extra £1m funding to support return to practice programmes.
Speaking at the chief nursing officer summit in Birmingham, he said: ‘As I have highlighted, we are focussing on a number of initiatives to boost nursing numbers in support of the government commitment to 50,000 [extra] nurses.
‘In particular, in crucial areas including learning disability and district, and investing in supporting new routes into nursing and CPD as well as encouraging nurses to return to practice.’
In addition, Mr Radford said national learning disability training will be introduced in June 2021 after pilots this year, backed with a £1m investment.
Apprenticeship routes for learning disability nursing will also receive extra cash for 2020/21. This comes after 200 additional starters came through apprenticeships in 2019/20.
An additional £1m has also been pledged for return to practice courses, which will go to trusts and higher education institutions.
Other announcements included:
- An ‘all-England’ plan to support the learning disability workforce;
- £1m a year to help systems and higher education institutions reduce attrition;
- £4.8m into promoting nursing as a profession through the ‘We are the NHS’ recruitment campaign;
- funding to support nursing associates and apprentices train as registered nurses.
Mr Radford also used his speech to highlight ‘challenges’ including ‘the rising demand across health and social care’ and ‘the need to inspire new generations of people who want to come into our profession’.
He said: ‘I see this as a challenge for us as leaders – and the one that I put to you today is absolutely the one that we can lead and change. And how do we do that is through collective support and partnerships?
‘We have seen over the last year are closer working relationship between all parts of the healthcare system. It certainly isn’t perfect or complete – but we are now seeing change through greater system partnership at national and local levels,’ he added.
The £10m additional clinical placements funding came in response to an 6% increase in applications to nursing, according to Mr Radford.
It also builds on work to increase student nurse placements by more than 7,500, enabling an additional 1,400 student nurses to start the training in September 2019.