News

RCN 'worried' by trust's plan to change vacant nurse posts to nursing associate roles

The move by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has attracted criticism.
Liz Lees

The RCN has criticised moves by an NHS trust to convert vacant registered nurse posts to nursing associate roles.

In April, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust plans to remove 21 vacant band 5 nursing posts and introduce the same number of nursing associates, who will begin training at the organisation.

The trust is one of the test sites for the new nursing associate role, which is intended to be a bridge between fully qualified nurses and healthcare assistants.

Safe care

RCN general secretary Janet Davies described the move as worrying and another reminder of the need for more nurses to deliver safe care.

Ms Davies added: The RCN repeatedly warned the government that its failure to recruit and retain registered

The RCN has criticised moves by an NHS trust to convert vacant registered nurse posts to nursing associate roles.


East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust director of nursing Liz Lees said the move
would not compromise existing nurse-to-patient ratios

In April, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust plans to remove 21 vacant band 5 nursing posts and introduce the same number of nursing associates, who will begin training at the organisation.

The trust is one of the test sites for the new nursing associate role, which is intended to be a bridge between fully qualified nurses and healthcare assistants.

Safe care

RCN general secretary Janet Davies described the move as ‘worrying’ and another reminder of the need for more nurses to deliver safe care.

Ms Davies added: ‘The RCN repeatedly warned the government that its failure to recruit and retain registered nurses would lead to nursing associates replacing them.

‘It is just not fair on nursing associates to expect them to deliver the same standard of care as a highly trained registered nurse. Support staff must supplement their work, rather than replace them.’

No compromise

In a statement, the trust's director of nursing Liz Lees insisted the move would not compromise existing nurse-to-patient ratios.

She said: 'The introduction of the nursing associate role is a national initiative, for which the trust is one of several pilot sites.

'Back in April 2016, the trust set out the approach it was taking through an establishment review (undertaken every six months), which includes a review of the nursing skill mix required to provide safe patient care. At the heart of this work is the principle of having the right staff, with the right skills and competencies, in the right place.

'Incorporating these new roles within our ward-based establishment does not compromise our registered nurse-to-patient ratio, on which we are well within national guidance. The roles also provide an alternative route into the graduate training programme for nursing.'

More trainees

Health Education England recently revealed plans to ensure at least 2,000 additional people will train as nursing associates during 2018.

This is in addition to training already underway for the first cohort of 1,000 associates at 11 pilot sites across England; a further 1,000 will begin their two-year course this year.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs