Second wave of test sites for nursing associate scheme revealed

The second wave of sites for training the next cohort of nursing associates has been announced after employers showed ‘real appetite’ for the role.

The second wave of sites for training the next cohort of nursing associates has been announced after employers showed ‘real appetite’ for the role.

Health Education England director of nursing and deputy director of education and quality Lisa Bayliss Pratt. Picture: Nathan Clarke

Health Education England (HEE) said that 1,000 nursing associates will be trained at the 24 test sites from next year (see panel).

The new sites bring together a wide range of organisations, including educational institutions, care homes, acute, community and mental health trusts, and hospices. Training of 1,000 nursing associates is due to begin at the first 11 test sites in December.

Hands-on care

The nursing associate role, which will require two years of training and involve hands-on care delivery, is intended to sit between those of healthcare assistants and registered nurses.

Nursing associates will provide fundamental aspects of direct care, but will not independently review treatment plans, or evaluate progress to make decisions on care.

The union Unison has said that establishing the new roles should not become a cheap way to replace registered nurses.

Lisa Bayliss Pratt, HEE director of nursing and deputy director of education and quality, said there had been ‘high levels of interest’ in the role.  

‘It further underlines the appetite for helping to deliver this new role, which can provide a real benefit to the nursing and care workforce across a range of settings, and play a key role in the delivery of patient care with safety at its heart,’ she said.

Statutory regulation

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt this week revealed that statutory professional regulation will be a necessary requirement for the nursing associate role, under the stewardship of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

‘Nursing associates are not there to replace registered nurses, but to support and complement them,’ he said.

‘But I have listened carefully to what has been said and agree that, on balance, statutory professional regulation is a necessary and proportionate requirement for this important new role.’

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘There is strong support for the nursing associate role and the Department of Health has decided that it requires regulation.

‘As an organisation we are well equipped to take on the role of the regulator. However, this decision will be made by our council at its meeting 25 January.’

Second wave sites

  • Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 
  • Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals.
  • York Teaching Hospitals.
  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.
  • The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.
  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Bedford NHS Trust.
  • The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
  • London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
  • East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation.
  • CSH Surrey.
  • Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
  • North Bristol NHS Trust.
  • Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.
  • NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.


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