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Fears over cut to nurse training fund

UU's School of Nursing is facing a cut of almost £1 million from the Department of Health
Paul Ainsworth

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THE Department of Health has blamed financial restraints on the decision to slash funding for the training of specialist nurses.

Ulster University trains qualified nurses in specialist roles such as operating outside hospitals in home visits.

However, the university's School of Nursing is facing a cut of almost £1 million from the Department of Health, which has described the move as a "difficult decision".

The sum amounts to almost 60 per cent of the school's funding to create specialised nurses such as health visitors.

A spokesman from the Department of Health said it "recognises the importance of investing in the continued education and training of the nursing, midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (AHP) workforce".

He continued: "The current financial climate has necessitated taking very difficult decisions to balance the very many demands and considerations of the wider health and social care system within the constraints of the financial resource available."

The spokesman said the nursing training budget for the coming year would be “prioritised to fund areas of clinical practice that are strategically important and which minimise impact on direct care”, but Ulster University's Professor Carol Curran, the head of Life and Health Sciences, said a meeting with the department was planned “as a matter of urgency to see if there's anything we can do to mitigate this”.

She added: “We hope we're able to rescue this plan and the department will reconsider some of the allocation of its money.”

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