The private sector has been accused of poaching NHS nurses by offering better training and working incentives.
The news comes amidst a double whammy for the NHS that has suffered Health Education England’s CPD budget cuts since 2012 and existing, and in some cases, severe nursing shortages in the NHS.
This week (13 May 2019) Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust warned that private sector providers were offering its staff recruitment incentives in a bid to try and lure them away.
A Guy’s and St Thomas’ spokeswoman is reported to have said that the issue was affecting nursing staff specifically, although could not confirm the specific number of staff who had left. She added staff retention and access to CPD in the NHS was a national issue and has been for some time.
As previously mentioned, Health Education England’s CPD budget has been cut steadily since 2012. In 2017, it was reduced from £190m to £84m.
Sir David Behan, chair of the Health Education England, recently said that the removal of money from CPD budgets was a “trade-off” to increase the number of nurses in training and stressed it had not been made clear this money was not removed from spending.
Does it matter?
However, some voices in the debate have questioned whether there is actually an issue with the movement of nurses from the NHS to the private sector as the NHS is also “guilty” of targeting private sector nurses to entice them back to the NHS. The fact is, there is a national shortage of qualified nurses which is at the root of the problem that will not be solved until the national shortage is resolved. It is also the case that the private sector provides clinical and medial service to NHS patients and what is most important, private sector or NHS, is that suitably qualified and trained nurses can ensure patient safety and care.
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