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Readers' panel: Should staff extend their roles to meet rising demand?

Our panellists comment on a report which argued the only way the NHS can meet future demand is to extend the skills of non-medical staff

"A report from the Nuffield Trust argues that extending the skills of nurses, healthcare assistants (HCAs) and other non-medical staff is the only way the NHS can meet the growing demand for patient care. Hasn’t this been happening for years? Specialist nurses already lead clinics and prescribe, while HCAs learn to cannulate. Extending the roles of non-medical staff can be a positive step, allowing for upskilling and the creation of more diverse, motivating roles."

Mike Wallis, nursing student, University of York

"I have no issue with nursing staff and support workers extending their roles if it benefits patients and professionals, with increased job satisfaction and career progression. But this should not be a cheap option used simply because of a shortage of appropriately skilled staff. Demand in the NHS will continue to rise, and with it complexity, but this is a question


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