Chancellor George Osborne last week delivered the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Budget to the House of Commons. Read in full here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-and-spending-review-2015
The main announcement for the NHS was confirmation of the commitment to increase NHS funding from £101bn currently to £120bn by 2020/21, with the first £6bn delivered upfront next year.
Other points of interest to employers in the NHS include:
- tax-free childcare costs for parents working more than 16h and earning less than £100,000
- bursaries for student nurses to be removed and replaced with student loans and also cuts to AHP bursaries
- creation of up to 10,000 new nursing training places
- more than £5bn for health research including genomics and dementia
- £600m of additional funding for mental health services, including access to talking therapies and crisis care
- a new council tax levy of up to 2 per cent for local authorities to spend specifically on adult social care, with the aim of bringing £2bn more into the social care system
- Better Care fund increased to £1.5bn by 2019/20
- state pension will increase next year to £119.30 per week
- a new single tier pension payment of £155.65 for new pensioners from next year
- an apprenticeship levy to raise £3bn a year, set at 0.5 per cent of the payroll bill but with a £15,000 allowance for employers to offset the levy.
Commenting on the cut to AHP bursaries - the BIOS Chair, Rowena McNamara, said:
"The British & Irish Orthoptic Society objects strongly to the news from the Spending Review that bursaries for AHPs are being cut. It is only going to add to the increased unpredictability of numbers of undergraduates being trained as Orthoptists (if applicants have more debt resulting from a lack of a range of available funding). It could also mean that universities may accept a larger number onto undergraduate courses - leading to an oversupply.
With this additional debt hanging over applicants, smaller AHP professions like Orthoptics will struggle to recruit to undergraduate courses.
Potentially the pool of applicants then taking up extended roles, some of which are beginning to replace medics, may be disrupted. (As we know, medical ophthalmologists are projected to be in short supply by the Centre For Workforce Intelligence).
The undergraduate commissioning system currently takes into account AHP bursaries and so, without this, it would have to be overhauled. The risk to this finely balanced system is that projected workforce requirements would be severely disrupted and chaotic.
Without the funding provided by NHS England for bursaries, Health Education England itself will be underfunded and potentially understaffed removing the current quality assurance and robust commissioning cycle associated with this process."