Nurse training budget used for deficits, DoH says

The DoH has admitted that £340 million of the training budget for nurses was used to pay off PCT deficits last year.

Health minister Rosie Winterton
Health minister Rosie Winterton
In a written answer to a question from Liberal Democrat MP David Laws, health minister Rosie Winterton made no mention of the number of training places cut in 2006/7, but said 1,500 had been cut in 2005/6. The drop in funds equated to 9 per cent of the overall training budget last year, compared with 3.5 per cent (£136 million) in 2005/6.

RCN head of policy Howard Catton said the cuts could mean up to 3,500 places had been cut. 'That's quite substantial. It also means that the nurses needed to implement the care closer to home policy are not receiving the training they need to do that successfully.'

The DoH has recently promised to monitor SHAs on their commissioning and funding of training places in 2007/8 but said they would be held to account on the basis of key outputs, yet to be defined, rather than spending a particular sum of money.


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