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Report highlights need to rebalance CPD funding

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Just 35 per cent of the NHS's training budget is spent on nurses and allied health professionals, even though they make up 40 per cent of the NHS workforce, says a new report by The King's Fund.

This is in comparison to the 60 per cent that is allocated to doctors who make up just 12 per cent of the workforce.

The report, which was published as part of The King's Fund's Our Time to Think Differently programme, focuses on how current CPD funding needs to be reworked to reflect the changing face of the NHS workforce.

The report came together through a range of seminars attended by stakeholders, frontline workers, and workforce planners to discuss a series of areas that require a new approach.

The report aims to highlight key points for consideration as the Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) plan their workforce investment and look at how the current workforce can be retrained to reflect the changing face of NHS patients.

Candace Imison, the acting director of policy at The Kings Fund and co-author of the report said: ‘We hope that this report creates a sense of urgency in LETBs in reskilling the current workforce and also to recognise the importance of the unpaid workforce. It is a case of re-balancing the current staff and to make sure there is training available for community nurses.'

LETBs will form their own workforce forecasts for each separate region through collecting evidence from local stakeholders in their call for evidence programme. This way strategy can be driven by local views. Representative bodies with a focus on practice nursing are encouraged to put forward evidence to help form the investment plans.

These proposals can be submitted via the Health Education England (HEE) website. http://hee.nhs.uk/work-programmes/workforce-planning/hee-workforce-planning-201314-call-for-evidence/

Lynn Young, the former primary care adviser at the RCN, said: ‘We need to be radical and more egalitarian. The call is out for more GPs, but is this the answer? Is this affordable? Investment in nursing could produce better and an increased number of GPs.

‘Huge money is currently spent on the few. Practice nurses need greater status in general practice and need to have the authority to upskill the other nurses and healthcare support workers in their teams.'

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: ‘The RCN agrees with much of the content of The King's Fund's paper and the need for the NHS to adapt to the ever changing landscape that faces it. We particularly welcome the highlighted need to radically invest in our communities and bring care closer to home as well as adopting new technologies and systems that put patients at the centre of their care.

‘Our health service needs to keep pace with rapidly shifting demands and challenges- intelligent workforce planning is the only way to do this.

‘The report rightly identifies the real need to invest in the training and development of health care professionals, including nursing and social care staff. The RCN understands that in too many cases employers are seeking to cut access to continuing professional development, something which has a serious long-term impact on the quality of care provided to patients.'

The final LETB workforce investment plans will be released in the autumn, with a follow up investment plan for England due for release in March 2014.

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