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Consultation launch on nursing associate role a ‘vital step’ for NMC

Consultation launch on nursing associate role to bridge gap between HCAs and registered nurses.
Jackie Smith

A consultation on the regulation of nursing associates has been launched.

The government wants views on the new role, which aims to bridge the gap between healthcare assistant (HCAs) and registered nurse.

Nursing associates will provide registered nurses with more time for specialist clinical care and patient treatment decision-making, the government says.

England-only

The consultation covers England only because the governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have decided not to introduce or regulate the nursing associate post at this time.

It is expected that legislation on the regulation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) of the role will come into effect by July 2018.

There are projected to be 5,000 nursing associate training places next year, rising to 7,500 by 2020, according to

A consultation on the regulation of nursing associates has been launched.

 


Jackie Smith, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council
Picture: Neil O’Connor

The government wants views on the new role, which aims to bridge the gap between healthcare assistant (HCAs) and registered nurse.

Nursing associates will provide registered nurses with more time for specialist clinical care and patient treatment decision-making, the government says.

England-only

The consultation covers England only because the governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have decided not to introduce or regulate the nursing associate post at this time.

It is expected that legislation on the regulation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) of the role will come into effect by July 2018.

There are projected to be 5,000 nursing associate training places next year, rising to 7,500 by 2020, according to the consultation document, Regulation of Nursing Associates in England.

Allow HCAs

Nursing associate apprenticeships are also being developed as part of the role with the aim being that they allow HCAs – and other interested individuals – a route to becoming nursing associates, and, if desired, registered nurses.

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘This consultation is a vital step towards the NMC becoming the regulator of nursing associates.

‘It’s always been our ambition to open the register to nursing associates in January 2019, when the first trainees qualify. But in order to do so, it’s critical that government drives through the necessary changes to our legislation, to ensure that we’re able to protect the public from the moment the first qualified nursing associates begin to practise.’

Health Education England began pilots of the two-year nursing associate training programme in late 2016.

Meet required proficiency standards

If the legislation comes into effect by July next year, the NMC says it will have six months to complete the required work such as approving standards, rules and fees, before opening the register to the first qualified nursing associates.

Applicants to join the nursing associate register from the European Economic Area will have to prove they meet the required proficiency standards which may include sitting a competency test. Applicants from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will face similar scrutiny.

Among the questions asked in the 60-page consultation document are whether the government is right to assume a 10% attrition rate for nursing associates during training and 4% drop-out rate from fully-qualified nursing associates leaving the NMC register.

The consultation ends on 26 December.

Further information


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