The Spending Round will focus on public services, including the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers and billions of pounds in additional funding for schools, and delivering the government’s promises on the NHS.
The increase to national training budgets for frontline health professionals across the NHS is part of the government’s commitment to improving patient care and securing a sustainable future for the NHS through the Long Term Plan.
Access to additional training is regularly cited as an issue affecting morale and retention for non-medical staff, especially nurses. This funding will help them to develop rewarding, lifelong careers in the health service.
The funding boost announced today will 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.
This is part of a wider drive to improve recruitment, retention and staff morale through the development of the first-ever NHS People Plan, led by NHS Improvement Chair Dido Harding and NHS Chief People Officer Prerana Issar.
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.
More than 200,000 nurses are also continuing to benefit from pay rises under the Agenda for Change pay deal. Reforms also mean the starting salary for a newly qualified nurses will be £24,907 in 2020/21, 12.6% higher than in 2017/18.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said:
“This is a Spending Round to support and celebrate our public services, getting cash to those on the frontline, including delivering on our promises to the NHS.
“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 Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:
“I love the NHS. I want to send a crystal-clear message that once you choose to join the NHS family, we will look after you from day one and help you develop the knowledge, skills and training you need to do the job you love for life.
“We must start by looking after the nurses, midwives and other dedicated health professionals we have already got, so they choose to stay and pursue a lifelong career within our brilliant NHS.
“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.”
Health Minister, Chris Skidmore, said:
“Investment in individuals is an investment in the future of our NHS.
“The best NHS employers already recognise that supporting learning and professional development has a direct impact on morale, retention and ultimately patient care – and we want to see this best practice spread right across the country.
“This strengthened, universal offer for our dedicated nurses, midwives and allied health professionals demonstrates that they have our full support, at every stage of their career.”
Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May, said:
“More staff, working in rewarding jobs and supportive environments, will be key to delivering the improvements for patients we set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. The nurses, midwives, care workers and other staff I speak to across England tell me time and again how important ongoing training is when they are thinking about their next career move, so I know today’s signal of intent will be welcomed across the health service.”
The focus on personal and professional development will improve engagement and motivation while improving retention to bring significant benefits to the NHS by reducing spend on agency and bank staff to fill vacancies.
Nurses are required to undertake at least 35 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) every three years to remain registered and demonstrate that they practise safety and effectively.
Currently, many nurses and other health professionals working in the NHS are expected to fund at least part of their learning to meet regulators’ requirements themselves and there is variation in the amount of training that is able to be undertaken during working hours.
The new, centrally funded and individually targeted approach will help address this and will build on good practice already happening across the NHS and improve consistency to ensure nurses and other non-medical staff feel valued and supported to develop their careers, regardless of where they work.
The government will work with the NHS, professional trade unions and employers to ensure the funding gets to staff on the frontline and takes into account local circumstances, priorities and skills shortages.
Matt Hancock has also asked NHS Improvement Chair Baroness Dido Harding and Health Education England Chair Sir David Behan to work with stakeholders to develop a training and development framework for healthcare assistants and other unregulated staff to ensure they are also able to benefit from effective training and development to progress their career within the NHS.