Hospital Dr News

Hunt pledges to “jump-start nurse training” despite Brexit challenges to NHS staffing

Five thousand extra trainee nurses places will be created next year to boost the number of home-grown NHS staff.

This is the key message from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in his Conservative Party Conference speech this week.

Hunt pledged to deliver the largest increase in training “in the history of the NHS” and boost numbers by a quarter.

The number of people applying to study nursing at university fell by 19% this year, after the government scrapped the bursaries for courses.

The creation of additional places will bring the number of undergraduate study opportunities to 25,850 in 2018/19, around 15,000 up from 2015.

However, Brexit is encouraging an out-migration of European staff who were working in the NHS.

Hunt said: “The NHS will be looking after a million more over-75s in just a decade, so we need to jump-start nurse training. We will make sure that many of the additional places go to healthcare assistants training on hospital sites, allowing us to expand our nurse workforce with some highly experienced people already working on the NHS frontline.

“We will also improve retention rates amongst our current workforce with new flexible working arrangements to be made available to all NHS staff, and a new right of first refusal for affordable housing built on NHS property.

“Combined with the 25% increase in medical school places announced last year, this will transform the ability of our NHS to cope with the pressures ahead.”

RCP President, Jane Dacre, commented: “An increase in training places for nurses is of course welcome. However, what was concerning was the lack of support for our colleagues from overseas.

“We all need to work hard to ensure staff working in our NHS feel supported, wherever they are from, and frankly stating that the government is ‘confident that they will be able to stay’ is just not good enough.

“Currently, a quarter of NHS doctors are from overseas, and the NHS has benefitted from their talents, abilities and will to work with us in the UK – this government and the Secretary of State must do more, despite the insecurity caused by the Brexit situation, to reassure those who have chosen to dedicate their working lives to the NHS, that they are valued, and more importantly, greatly needed.”

Furthermore, the government said it will introduce an opt-out system for organ donation in England, and review the delivery of mental health services.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “It is important that the new process is well publicised to ensure the public are fully aware of and understand this important change. The health service must also have the resources, as well as facilities, to ensure transplant procedures can be performed when they are needed.

“It is also encouraging that the Prime Minister has announced that the government will be conducting a review of mental health services. Mental health services are underfunded and overwhelmed by demand, with many vulnerable patients struggling to get access to the right level of care because of a lack of integration and preventive care.”

There was no mention by the government of the crisis in social care.

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation