NHS bins finance staff plan.

Demanding targets to increase qualification levels among NHS finance staff have been dropped.

Just 40% of the 14,500 finance staff in the NHS either have a financial qualification (NVQ, AAT or CCAB) or are studying for one. The draft strategy called for this to increase to 70% by 2003 and 100% by 2005.

But the finalised finance staff development strategy drops all reference to specific targets and identifies a much more vague ‘wish to see an annual increase in the proportion of staff studying for qualifications’ and that ‘everyone will have access to training appropriate for his or her role’.

The department declined to comment on the changes although it is understood that there was concern about adding to the targets already facing the service. It is also believed to have decided on a more flexible route given the major structural upheaval it is facing including the emergence of shared service centres running basic financial functions.

David Poynton, finance director of Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust and chairman of CIPFA’s health panel, said the approach made sense. ‘So many targets have been put out and if you don’t hit them you are seen to fail. But the important thing is the speed you are moving towards them.’

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