Our response to the nursing associate role consultation

Nurse with phone

NHS Employers has written to Health Education England (HEE) in response to the consultation on the proposed nursing associate role, which closed on 11 March.

The letter captures the views of employers including HR director network chairs, and senior nursing and workforce leads. 

The key points in our response include:

  • the new role should be future focused and help to deliver new models of care in different healthcare settings
  • having ‘nursing’ in the title has the potential to limit the remit of the role in some settings
  • there was no clear consensus from employers on whether the role should be regulated
  • there is the potential for this new role to be confused with the current assistant practitioner role.
In addition to responding to the specific consultation questions, we also submitted some general points raised by employers which include: 

  • the need for clarity within any staffing guidance about whether using the role alongside registered nurses and other healthcare professionals provides safe care to patients
  • the service must look at the shape of the future workforce in order to deliver the vision in the Forward View. A strategic and organisational approach to re-profiling the shape of the workforce and developing the roles of support workers is needed to ensure sustainability in workforce supply. 
Download our letter to HEE, which details our response. 

The nursing associate role and apprenticeships

Following a recent proposal to introduce targets on apprenticeships within the public sector the nursing associate role has the potential to help the NHS work towards its target and provide an alternative pathway to undergraduate nursing programmes. 

It is important that these issues are considered jointly along with other workforce policies when the government is assessing how future policy decisions will impact on the health and social care sector. Read our response to the proposed apprenticeship targets.

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