The chief nursing officer for England, Jane Cummings, has said that the forthcoming nursing associate role will reduce the reliance on registered nurses, and also improve the quality of personalised care for patients.
In a blog post she welcomed the announcement of 11 sites across England that will test the role from December and said that nursing associates would play an important part in “developing [a] contemporary workforce” while working under the direction of nurses.
In other nursing associate news, Health Education England has revealed the second wave of 1,000 trainees will begin programmes in April next year. At HEE’s latest board meeting, the body’s director of nursing also announced the possibility of a standard, same colour uniform could be introduced for the new role.
Meanwhile the Royal College of Nursing has warned that, unless the government takes immediate action to tackle issues of recruitment and retention, nurse shortages are likely to get worse in the UK, potentially risking patient safety. Janet Davies, the chief executive of the RCN, said “a perfect storm” of problems was now threatening the workforce including rising demand, an ageing workforce, insufficient number of trainees and potential threats to international recruitment.
Official data from regulator NHS Improvement has shown that trusts are still breaking government-enforced caps on agency staff pay rates about 47,000 times a week, although costs of around £600m have been avoided by the NHS since the rules were brought in a year ago. NHSI announced further measures to clampdown on temporary staff spending including the publication of league tables across England.
A survey published this week found that two thirds of NHS students have been forced to take on extra work on top of their studies to supplement their income. The report, by union Unison, also found that 64% of students working extra hours thought it was affecting their ability to study and 47% had considered leaving their course due to financial hardship.
Speaking of Unison, its well-known head of nursing, Gail Adams, has announced she is to leave her role after 14 years in post to become head of the union’s professional services unit. She said her time as head of nursing “has been amazing and I have truly loved every minute of it” and she vowed to “always challenge and stand up for our nursing family wherever they are”.