£60m gives NHS life-long learning scheme a boost

NHS staff with no professional qualifications will be given access to learning accounts, under plans unveiled last week by the health secretary.

Announcing £60m funding to continue NHS learning accounts and NVQ training, health secretary Patricia Hewitt said that the NHS could offer more career opportunities for staff than any other employer.

“NHS learning accounts and the skills escalator allow the NHS to be at the forefront of life-long learning, encouraging people to perform to the top of their abilities, develop skills and climb the NHS careers ladder,” she said.

“Without the input of the 223,000 healthcare assistants, the NHS simply wouldn’t function.”

Karen Jennings, head of health at public sector union Unison, said the scheme was popular among healthcare assistants and was helping them to develop “within their roles and beyond”.

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