Primary care will receive a major boost to training positions, a new report from HEE has announced.
HEE's Workforce plan for England 2015/16 sets out how £5 billion will be spent on education and training programmes. HEE plans to commission 13,783 training positions for primary and community care nurses in 2015/16, compared to 13,228 in 2014/15, an increase of 4.2 per cent. Of these, 502 of these posts will be for district nurses, and a further 359 will be for practice nurses. In 2014, 218 practice nurse positions were commissioned, 64.7 per cent less than this year.
Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's chief executive, said: 'Community services can do a great deal to reduce the strain on acute services, and provide care for patients closer to home, but currently these services are severely understaffed, so it is a positive step to support staff to work in this area.'
It is stated that nurses need to be incentivised to move from secondary to primary care, to ensure that there are sufficient levels of staffing in primary and community settings as, although HEE is training enough nurses for both acute and primary care, the rate at which nurses move from secondary to primary has dropped since the release of the Francis report.
The report states that the health service will require 10,000 more primary and community care workers by 2020 to remain functional. Some of the plans outlined by HEE to enhance the primary care workforce.
Dr Carter added: 'The trend in nurse training places is once more going in the right direction, but only a sustained, long-term investment in nurse numbers will allow the NHS to keep up with demand without patient care suffering.'