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UCU says NHS training cash cannot be trusted to DoH

6 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today demanded the government stops cuts to the education and training budgets in the National Health Service, following the announcement of the NHS end of year financial figures.

Despite overall positive figures, health educators are witnessing cuts of up to 10% in commissioning of training places this year, on top of up to 30% last year. The union says that the training money must be secured and if the Department of Health cannot guarantee that then the responsibility must be handed over to higher education funding bodies.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We have been here before - the shortage of nurses in the late 1990s was a direct result of cuts earlier in that decade. Unless the money for training and education is protected we will have fewer nurses and other key NHS staff in 2010.

'It is vital that funding for health training is protected and the time has come to consider whether the Department of Health is able to do this. We cannot allow current short-term political expediency to create a future crisis in the NHS.

'Universities need investment and stability, not boom and bust, and this vital investment in our country's future should be ring fenced and under strategic control of higher education funding bodies not NHS managers whose first priority is to balance the books.'

The House of Commons Health Committee recently called workforce planning in the NHS disastrous and said: 'If a health service, rather than a sickness service, is to be created, then it is crucial that the primary care workforce is expanded and improved.'