- Sajid Javid says government will “boost” personal development budget for staff by £210m
- Staff to be given £1,000 “personal development budget” over three years
- Health Education England’s workforce development budget repeatedly cut in recent years
The chancellor has promised an increase in planned spending on NHS staff development, which he says will pay for £1,000 “personal development budgets” for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.
In an announcement ahead of a government spending review due tomorrow, the Treasury said the money was part of a £210m “funding boost for frontline NHS staff” in 2020-21.
A government spokesman said this sum represented additional funding from the Treasury for health, on top of current plans. Much else about the plan is unclear, however, including whether the new funds will be held by Health Education England, and how much local trusts will be required to put into continuing professional development.
NHS education and capital budgets, unlike the NHS England budget for day-to-day services, have been reduced in real terms in recent years. HEE’s budget for workforce development in 2018-19 was £84m, down from £205m in 2015-16.
Since the five-year NHSE revenue settlement, announced last summer, the sector has been calling for improved deals on education, capital, social care and public health. News reports at the weekend suggested the spending review would include a budget increase for social care in 2020-21.
A government announcement ahead of the spending review highlighted that “additional training is regularly cited as an issue affecting morale and retention for non-medical staff, especially nurses”; and said the money would also “help nurses advance their careers, develop new clinical skills to enhance the care they are able to provide to patients, obtain advanced practice qualifications and move more easily between different roles in different parts of the NHS – for example, moving from hospital to community care – to deliver the ambitions set out in the long-term plan”.
It said: “Every nurse, midwife and allied health professional working across NHS hospital and community care and general practice will have access to a personal training budget of more than £1,000 over three years to support their personal learning and development needs, known to nurses as their revalidation cycle.
“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.”
Revalidation rules for nurses require them to undertake 35 hours of continuing professional development over three years, 20 of them in participation with other nurses.
It is not clear how much trusts and other NHS employers will need to contribute, nor how the £1,000 compares to current spending and requirements.
The chancellor, Sajid Javid, said in a statement: “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.”
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “Ultimately it’s patients that will benefit from this, with even more motivated and highly trained staff providing the high-quality care they rightly expect.”
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “After years of cutbacks, this announcement may start to put things right… We now urge the government to address the current workforce crisis in the NHS by investing £1bn in nurse higher education to increase our domestic supply of nurses.”
However, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “This falls short of Labour’s £330m pledge to invest in training our NHS staff and comes after years of Tory cuts contributing to a staffing crisis which has seen 100,000 shortages across the health service.”
Earlier in the summer, government said it would increase planned NHS capital spending. The announcements come ahead of a possible general election in coming weeks.