Nurse training cut in London 'deeply concerning' - RCN

A reduction in training places for nurses in London is "deeply concerning", the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned.

NHS London is cutting the number of trainee nurses from 2,000 to 1,580 a year.

The organisation said the change would allow it to raise standards of teaching.

But the RCN warned of the possibility of "chronic shortages" of nurses, with staff "poached" from abroad.

RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: "We are deeply concerned at this reduction in nurse training places.

"The nursing workforce has grown in recent years, but only just enough to keep up with rising demands on healthcare.

"It is vital to avoid a return to the chronic shortages of the early-1990s and the old boom-and-bust cycle of NHS workforce planning."

'Improving quality'

He added: "NHS London needs to produce a robust plan guaranteeing continued investment in nurse training and education.

"The vast majority of newly-qualified nurses are dedicated professionals, who are committed to providing the highest possible standards of patient care.

"Having the right numbers and mix of healthcare professionals is pivotal in enabling these nurses to provide this high-quality care."

NHS London chief nurse Prof Trish Morris-Thompson said: "Making these changes will improve the quality of nurses who move into the NHS.

"I firmly believe this will significantly improve patient care, and that has to be a good thing."

An NHS spokesman said: "This is not about making savings.

"We are spending the same amount - £1.1bn - as we did last year on training doctors and nurses in London, but we are doing this in a different way to increase the number of nurses where they're most needed."

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