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HEE will increase primary care nurses

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HEE will increase primary care nurses HEE will invest to increase primary care nurses in 2015

HEE will invest in a 'rapid expansion' of practice, district and school nurses, but no specific percentages or numbers were included in its workforce plan for 2015.

However, HEE plans to commission 340 training places for school nurses, which is a 71.7 per cent increase on last year.

Other nursing disciplines such as mental health nursing and learning disability nursing have been planned with specific percentages to increase the workforce within the next year.

HEE will commission an additional 100 training posts for mental health nurses in 2015-16 (a three per cent increase). Mental health service providers have forecast a reduced requirement for mental health nursing but it is unclear if the reduced requirement is based on need or affordability.

There will also be an increase of 1.7 per cent of learning disability nurses even though service providers forecasted that there only needs to be an increase of 0.4 per cent to meet demands.

'Community services are severely underfunded and understaffed, so the focus on nursing posts in the community is much needed. However, the small increase in mental health and learning disability nurses is nowhere near enough to redress the recent reductions in these numbers,' said Peter Carter, the chief executive of the RCN.

The plan stated that HEE is training enough nurses to work in both acute and community settings. However, employers have said that post-Francis there has been a focus on acute based nursing. As a result nurses are not moving from secondary to community care at the rate that they have been previously, said HEE. Therefore, HEE has established a Transforming Primary and Community Nursing programme with NHS England to identify what further actions can be taken to ensure sufficient jobs are created in the community and to incentivise nurses from secondary care.

Over the past four years HEE has increased health visitor commissions by 500 per cent, which puts it on track to deliver the target of 4200 new graduates by April 2015.

Last week HEE established an independent Primary Care Workforce Commission chaired by Professor Martin Roland and this will consider how to develop the wider workforce for primary care requirements. HEE recognised that nurses make up 67 per cent of the primary care workforce, so investment in them is required.

The workforce plan sets out the £5bn worth of investments that will be made in education and training that are due to begin in September 2015. HEE will work from the vision outlined in NHS England's Five Year Forward View to implement many of the recommendations the report made, said Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of HEE.

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