Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/457/5484
Health workers told - no money for study
STAFF EMPLOYED by Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust were recently told that they will not be sponsored to attend training courses that would have given them registered nurse qualifications after three years' university study.
John Malcolm, chair UNISON Tees and North East Yorkshire health branch, personal capacity
The staff members, mainly health care assistants, were promised the opportunity to study on full pay with a guarantee of a job within the trust on qualification. A number of UNISON members have protested after being told two weeks before the start of the course that funding is no longer available. This is despite having contracts from the trust detailing the terms of the sponsorship scheme.
UNISON had welcomed the scheme as it was a good way of addressing the shortage of qualified nurses as well as providing an opportunity for staff to develop their theoretical knowledge along with their valuable work experience and skills.
According to The Guardian the Royal College of Surgeons has serious concerns about these training cuts: "We are having reports coming through from the north-east, around Newcastle, from the east of England, from the West Midlands, of an average 10% being taken from funding.... In the east of England the budget for multi-professional educational training is nearly £291million and they are looking to save £25 million - an 8.6% reduction. In the north-east, where the budget is £199 million, the reduction is 10.6%."
UNISON has been informed that funding from the strategic health authority has been withheld in order to cut the NHS deficits. These cuts also affect medical training and could have a drastic affect on patient care.
The only alternative for the staff affected will be to try and obtain a student bursary. But this falls well short of a living wage and therefore excludes the majority of staff on the sponsorship scheme who have mortgages and families to support.
UNISON policy is for all students to receive a living wage rather than the meagre bursary currently on offer, which leads to many students having to do agency work to supplement their income.
In The Socialist 5 October 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns