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LGA: Expand £210m NHS nurses’ training fund to include public health workers
New government funding of £210 million for NHS nurses to improve their training and skills should be expanded to cover public health workers, such as health visitors and school nurses, councils said yesterday.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said that while it is good that investment is being made in nursing, the £1,000 personal development budgets announced in last week’s Spending Round should be offered to all parts of the workforce.
Public health nurses working for or on behalf of councils help to deliver the Healthy Child Programme, providing vital early support to children and young families in the first few years of life, among many other crucial roles.
Offering greater training and upskilling opportunities would also encourage more people into nursing and to stay in the profession for longer, at a time when the sector is experiencing severe problems in recruitment and retention.
Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said: “Each and every nurse, no matter who they work for, deserves the chance to develop their careers and improve their learning.
“It is good that the Government is choosing to invest in nursing for those who work in the NHS, but this new funding needs to be extended to include all those other members of the nursing workforce who are based in our communities, outside the health service.
“Since councils took over responsibility for the public health of those aged 0-5 in 2015, health visitors have increased the number of contacts they make with children and families, including offering vital support via schools, nurseries and children’s services.
“School nurses also provide pupils with a host of health and wellbeing support through delivering the Government’s Healthy Child Programme, covering everything from mental health support, healthy eating and lifestyle advice to sexual health services and immunisation.
“Nurses in community and public health facing roles are as equally important as their NHS counterparts in keeping our population safe and healthy. Therefore this new government funding for continuing professional development should be extended to all nurses to reflect this, as part of our shared commitment to ensure a successful, long term health and care workforce.”
The Spending Round announced last week saw local government receive a £3.5 billion funding package for next year, including £1 billion for social care, which will help councils as they strive to ensure older and disabled people can live the lives they want to lead.
Notes to editors
The LGA’s Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP), part of our sector-led improvement offer for councils, provides advice and tools to local authorities about how best to manage their resources and make the biggest impact on communities. This includes workshops to support and improve public health, preventing ill-health, together with training and networking opportunities.
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