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Nurses: Training

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will undertake to restore the underspend by strategic health authorities on multi-professional education and training, with particular reference to nurse training for each of the last five years for which there has been an underspend. (199947)

The multi professional education and training budget forms part of the national health service bundle of budgets issued to strategic health authorities (SHAs) and as such is not ring fenced. It is up to the SHAs to determine how much they spend on education and training and whether underspends should be restored to the following year’s budgets in the light of their own local priorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that strategic health authorities spend their full budget allocation on nurse training. (199948)

The Department is not taking any steps to ensure that strategic health authorities spend their full budget allocation on nurse training. The role of the Department should be to focus on outputs and accountability rather than on ensuring a fixed amount of money is spent for a particular purpose regardless of local priorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the aggregated underspend on nurse training over the last five years. (200176)

We do not allocate funding specifically to nurse training. We therefore cannot provide figures on the level of underspending for the last five years. However figures on the total underspend from the multi-professional education and training (MPET) budget are shown in the following table.

MPET underspend (£ million)

2003-04

58.7

2004-05

86.3

2005-06

135.7

2006-07

357.0

2007-081

99.0

1 Forecast based on quarter three quarterly monitoring returns.