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Nurses and midwives to be given £1,000 each to spend on training

Nurses, midwives and other frontline health professionals are to each be given £1,000 over three years to spend on training as part of the government’s attempt to reduce the number of staff leaving the NHS and improve patient care.

Chancellor Sajid Javid made the announcement as part of this week’s Spending Round, and the funds form part of the government’s ‘Long Term Plan’ and its commitment to improving patient care and securing a sustainable future for the NHS.

The announcement comes after more than 27,000 nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area and the UK left the register in the last financial year (2018/2019). Additionally non-medical NHS staff have regularly cited that lack of access to additional training is a major issue that effects both staff morale and retention.

The new multi-billion pound package will help support nurses and midwives with their personal learning and development needs, often referred to as their ‘revalidation cycle’.

Currently, nurses are required to participate in a minimum of 35 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) every three years in order to stay registered and to demonstrate safe and effective practice, which they are expected to fund at least of part of themselves.

However, under the new package all trusts will be expected to provide additional funding locally to invest in their staff.

Mr Javid said: “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.”

Voices finally being heard – Baby Lifeline

The announcement today will be welcome news to Baby Lifeline - a mother and baby charity that delivers high-quality multi-professional training for the maternity sector and whose mission is to ensure safety for mother and baby by promoting best practice. Baby Lifeline has been fighting for years to obtain government support to enable staff from maternity units to access training to improve standards (as highlighted in our blog ‘Maternity training to reduce number of mother and baby birth injuries’).

According to the charity’s 2018 Mind the Gap report, the majority (76-79%) of baby deaths and injuries that are investigated by national bodies are reported to have been avoidable with different care.

Despite this, Baby Lifeline’s research found that for midwives, specialised professional development training is not currently prioritised or standardised across the UK. Furthermore, funding access differs hugely from trust to trust, with almost 50% not setting aside an individualised budget for midwives.

The new individual funding will help improve standardisation and access to training for midwives - and nurses - across the UK.

Gill Edwards is a member of Baby Lifeline’s Multi-Professional Advisory Panel and is a Partner within the Clinical Negligence team here at Potter Rees Dolan. Gill comments:

The additional funding for training is to be welcomed but there also needs to be sufficient staff available to enable nurses and midwives to take the time off to attend the courses. The gesture will go some way to helping staff feel valued and will potentially improve standards in the long term, but if retention is to improve what is really needed is for the government to increase their pay to a respectable level.

Gill is a Partner within our Clinical Negligence team here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any questions about aspects of this article or clinical negligence issues, please do not hesitate to call our expert solicitors on 0800 027 2557. Alternatively, contact Gill directly here.