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Consultation on new nursing associate role now open

Health Education England (HEE) has invited healthcare employers, nurses, care assistants, commissioners and stakeholders to comment on the design of a new nursing support role

Posted: 3 February 2016

The new role will “bridge the gap” between health and care support, and will work alongside fully-qualified registered nurses delivering hands on care and ensuring the best care possible for patients, according to HEE.

Professor Lisa Bayliss Pratt, director of nursing for HEE, said: “We need a new type of care worker with a higher skillset who can deliver person-centred care in all health and social care settings.

“I believe that this new enhanced role can assist, strengthen and complement the care given by graduate registered nurses.

“In addition it will create a career pathway that offers progression opportunities and gives a job satisfaction to those who want to develop themselves in this important profession.”

The consultation seeks healthcare professionals’ views on whether the new role should be regulated, learning outcomes and principles.

Commenting on the new role, Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “Healthcare assistants have a vital role to play and are of huge value to patients and nurses alike, and they deserve training, development and regulation.

“Support workers should also be given improved access into the nursing profession if they wish, but this must be through the graduate pathway.”

Unison, the public service union, said the government’s plans to introduce a new nursing role is no solution to the current nursing shortage.

Christina McAnea, Unison head of health, said: “The government must look at the nursing family as a whole and ensure there is a consistent structure to improve the training and prospects of health care assistants and assistant practitioners, including those who want to progress all the way to qualify as registered nurses.

“There is no quick fix to plug the gaping shortages of registered nurses which have been made worse as a result of the cap on agency spending and the clampdown on nurses from overseas.”

The consultation closes on 11 March.