A major review of £100m of nurse training and education in the East of England has been launched, HSJ can reveal.

The scrutiny will examine pre-registration training for nurses at six universities across the region, covering 23 courses and an estimated 4,500 students.

It will be run by the East of England local education and training board branch of Health Education England. The national body last week launched its own nationwide review, which will examine both pre and post registration standards of nurse education.

The East of England review will feed into the national scrutiny, which is being led by Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Willis.

A report setting out plans for the review, seen by HSJ, described the programmes the region currently commissioned as varying in “content, quality and focus”.

“The fundamental requirement to deliver high-quality nursing care, integrated with essential person- centred care and high-level technical skills, as identified in the Francis Report, suggests that we need to assure ourselves that our programmes meet…healthcare requirements now and also in the future.”

The LETB said its review will be led by an independent chair, who has not yet been named. It will consult provider chief executives from across the region and representatives from the education sector and wider health and social care workforce.

Jackie Kelly, head of nursing at the University of Hertfordshire, said it was “very much engaged” with the review.

“As a nursing body we have looked at pre-registration nurse education and new standards were agreed in 2010,” she added. “A lot of what we needed to look at, we have already gone a long way to do. Providers won’t have seen the output from that yet. This doesn’t mean we should sit on our laurels and not ask ourselves questions.”

Jenny McGuinness, head of education and commissioning at HEE East of England, described the review as “an opportunity for the providers of healthcare in the east of England to take a fundamental look at the way we educate our nurses for the future”.

It aimed to help providers “develop an education model that is innovative and prepares our nurses to work in a changing healthcare sector delivering NHS commissioned care,” she added.

The review is expected to publish a report and recommendations this autumn.

East of England nurse education in figures


Pre-registration places commissioned


Pre-registration courses commissioned in the eastern region


Number of educational institutions commissioned


Annual programme cost