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Protests over proposals to slash training

Draft proposals from the Department of Health for a 14 per cent cut in AHP student training places are being challenged by the CSP and other professional organisations.

The Allied Health Professions Federation has written to health secretary Andy Burnham urging him not to implement the ‘alarming’ proposals from health officials. Meanwhile, CSP president Baroness Finlay is trying to raise the issue in the House of Lords.

AHPF chair Ralph Graham said the proposals were not based on evidence or consideration for longer-term service needs and could seriously undermine AHPs’ ability to be part of the government’s health and well-being agenda.

The proposals come from a Department of Health working group on non-medical workforce planning in guidance to strategic health authorities on education commissioning. They suggest the cut-back in order to reflect a 14 per cent reduction in funding in order to meet the ‘quality and productivity challenges ahead’.

By contrast, the proposed cut for nursing students equates to seven per cent.

Although budgets might need to be revised because of the financial situation, the AHPF acknowledged, there was a risk short-term savings could cause long-term damage to patient services.

It said AHPs played a vital role in reducing healthcare costs and were essential to government plans, such as service redesign, integration and delivery in the community, and implementation of the Boorman report on staff health.

‘Reducing the number of future AHPs risks making such changes unachievable in the short term and unsustainable in the long term,’ the letter to Andy Burnham states. The AHPF has also raised its concerns in separate letters to SHA chief executives and senior health department officials. Unions, including the CSP, will be raising concerns through the Social Partnership Forum, which is chaired by minister Ann Keen.

Meanwhile, in written questions submitted in the House of Lords, CSP president Baroness Finlay asks about the basis for the 14 per cent cut and why it is double that proposed for nurse training, as well as how health economic efficiency data has been considered in workforce planning for AHP posts.


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