• Chancellor announces increase in HEE budget, taking it to slightly below 2018-19 levels
  • Nuffield Trust says increase to be spent on CPD is around a third of what is required
  • Public health grant for councils increased for first time in six years
  • Promise of “multiyear capital settlement” in future

The chancellor today confirmed a real terms increase in the NHS education and training budget next year – but was warned this is “not enough to tackle the workforce crisis”.

As trailed earlier this week, Sajid Javid announced an increase to Health Education England’s budget, earmarking £150m of it in 2020-21 for the first year of a three-year fund to support continuing professional development for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

The details released by the Treasury said the body will receive a 3.4 per cent uplift on 2019-20’s budget.

Many in the NHS have been calling for extra funding to create more clinical training places and support more people while training, in the wake of the scrapping of the nursing bursary. 

But it appears the 2020-21 increase will leave little, if any, growth beyond the £150m for CPD, and the overall 2020-21 HEE budget will still be lower than it was in 2018-19.

Director of policy at the King’s Fund Sally Warren said: “The health and care workforce is in crisis with endemic staff shortages. The extra money pledged for Health Education England is welcome. But this funding is not enough to support the increase in training places needed to tackle the workforce crisis across health and care.”

The Nuffield Trust said the increase pledged was only a third of what was required.

Chief economist John Applebly said: “Today’s spending round is sadly a missed opportunity to turn around years of cuts to the crucial budgets that support the NHS and the patients who depend on it.

“Funding for developing staff skills mid-career is rising by £150m, which is much less than what would be needed just to get staff back to where they were in 2013-14. And the rest of the budget is hardly rising, leaving almost nothing to get the additional nursing students and GP trainees we urgently need.”

He also promised “additional resources through a real terms increase in the public health grant” – which, as with HEE, follows successive years of real terms cuts. The size of the growth has not yet been given.

Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie said on Twitter: “The public health grant settlement in today’s 2020-21 spending review is the first year in six where there is some new money.

“So, good news and a foundation to build on for the longer term settlement to follow.”

The chancellor also confirmed £78m would be spent next year on the AI tech fund, for which a total £250m budget covering several years was announced last month, and confirmed capital spending announcements made in the summer.

Also on capital, the spending review document said the Department of Health and Social Care would get “a new multiyear capital settlement at the next capital review”.

It continued: “This will look to deliver a smarter, more strategic long-term approach… to build new hospitals, modernise diagnostics and technology, and help eradicate current critical safety issues in the NHS estate.”

On social care, the spending review confirmed there would be a 3.4 per cent real terms increase in the NHS contribution to the better care fund, and an extra £1bn to local authorities for social care, which will also be allowed to raise an additional £500m through council tax for care.

Ms Warren – who previously worked on social care in government and at the Care Quality Commission – said this was “the bare minimum needed to patch up services for another year and will not be enough to improve services for the people, families and carers who are being let down by the current system”.

The DHSC revenue budget overall will increase by 3.1 per cent in real terms next year.