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UKIP moots return of enrolled nurse and end to graduate training


The UK Independence Party would reintroduce state enrolled nurses to encourage more “home grown talent” in nursing, as part of a package of election pledges on the NHS.

It set out a range of policies affecting nursing, including measures to increase staff numbers, support the development of healthcare assistants and reverse the move to a degree-only entry profession.

“There is a desperate need to bring care and compassion back to the heart of nursing”

Louise Bours

UKIP’s health spokeswoman Louise Bours launched the party’s health policy yesterday. In a speech made during a visit to Rochester in Kent, she stated: “To achieve the highest possible quality of care we must have the right policies for nursing.”

“Although the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, it does not have enough nurses,” she said. “UKIP would redress the imbalance of their being too many managers, not enough frontline staff.”

To help achieve its workforce aim, it would “simplify procedures” for former nurses to return to practice and bring back the title of state enrolled nurse to enable more HCAs to become registered.  

“[Enrolled nurse] training will take place on the wards, utilizing the current pool of auxiliary staff allowing them to work toward becoming a state registered nurse,” she said.

Assistant nurses, later known as the state enrolled nurses, appeared in 1943 but were phased out during the early 1990s after the restructuring of nurse education under Project 2000. Enrolled nurses were recorded by the former General Nursing Councils but did not have to undergo full registration.

More generally, Ms Bours claimed nurse training “should take place on the ward, not in a university lecture theatre”.

UK Independence Party

UKIP health spokesperson Louise Bours

“There is a desperate need to bring care and compassion back to the heart of nursing, to end the ‘too posh to wash’ attitude of some graduates and make sure patients never again die on our wards because their basic needs to be fed, given something to drink, and to be kept warm and comfortable are not being met,” she said.

In addition, she said that under UKIP control nurse managers would be “responsible for ward cleanliness, the efficient operation of their wards, and oversight of nurse training on their wards”.

It would also insist that overseas health professionals in the NHS “must hold appropriate qualifications and speak and write English to a level that is acceptable to the profession”.

Overall, Ms Bours pledged to “put quality of care back to the top of the agenda” for the NHS.

For example, she highlighted that UKIP expected home care agencies to pay the minimum wage to their staff, and to pay them on duty or in training.

“There is no excuse for a big care company to hire anyone on a zero-hours contract, or to not pay them when they are travelling between appointments, or ‘on call’,” she said.

“Although the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, it does not have enough nurses”

Louise Bours

The party also said it would scrap hospital parking charges in England and make up the £200m financial shortfall from “tackling health tourism” by overseas nationals using UK health services.

In addition, it said it would require NHS managers to be licensed by law, in the same way that nurses and doctors are registered with professional regulators.

This would “negate the drift of disgraced hospital managers being fired only to find another job elsewhere within the health service”, it said.

It said it also would “abolish” inspections by the Care Quality Commission and pass this responsibility to “local health boards”, which would be “encouraged to take evidence from whistleblowers and patients with grievances”.

Overall, the party pledged to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery and said it would invest £3bn more into providing frontline services – the money coming, it said, from leaving the European Union.

“This money will provide 20,000 new nurses, 3,000 midwives and 8,000 GPs,” said Ms Bours.

It would also provide £130m per year specifically for dementia care, which would total £650m over the entire parliament. It claimed this was double what the Tories had pledged and was in line with what Alzheimer’s Research UK said was needed.

Meanwhile, it said merging health and social care was a “priority” in order to enable more joined-up, integrated patient management.


Readers' comments (56)

  • I am not sure what a 'moot' is - but bring back the nursing tutors onto the wards!

    Bring back La Vocation!

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  • The SEN role was abused in the past as they were often used as staff nurses but on a lower salary. They had no career pathway beyond their SEN level. Health care assistants can now prepare for pre-registration course by taking NVQ level 3. Nurse education does not take place in a university lecture theatre alone, there is a 50% practice requirement. It is worrying that a prospective MP/heath spokesperson is ignorant of the developments which have made career opportunities a reality for previously disadvantaged staff & is ignorant of the process of nurse education. This statement panders to & attempts to reinforce the prejudices which the general public may have of nursing. But that's the UKIP way.

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  • “home grown talent”

    Not like those home grown RNs and HCAs eh? Or do they mean something more sinister by "home grown"?

    Along with this nugget: "In addition, she said that under UKIP control nurse managers would be “responsible for ward cleanliness, the efficient operation of their wards, and oversight of nurse training on their wards”, are they not responsible for that at the moment???

    This statement has more holes than a broken tea strainer.

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  • HCSW

    Good idea. There is a need for a sensible use of bands 3 and 4.

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  • Probably the most sensible pledge by UKIP ever

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  • As a second year student nurse on the degree program I do not agree. Our course is still 50% practice, therefore we spend 50% of our time out there on the wards. Some things need to be taught in a classroom, such as important policies and legislation that arise due to the poor nursing care this article talks about, which came about before nursing became graduate only...

    A&P is also best taught in the classroom.

    Yes practice is very important, and while this is where I learn the most about nursing the classroom builds some foundations.

    Let's not also forget the doors that are opening to nurses due to them being graduates.

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  • The most stunning abuses were certainly when nursing was well along the path to graduate only....
    I despise UKIP - but this is a reasonable bit of thinking. SENs would be useful and they allowed lots of less academically gifted staff to do a practical job that they loved. And they were bloody excellent care givers.

    I think many students would be stunned if they realised how out of date so many lecturers are. It shames the NMC that people who never touch patients are allowed to register merely by dint of spouting poor lectures to young people.

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  • anon above

    will re validation change that for the lecturers - probably reliant on who they know!!!!! - which makes a nonsense of it for all the rest of the hard working and honest nursing population.

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  • wow! if only it was sooner there is one trust in the midlands that has got rid their H C S W (BAND 3) to cut back on 400 jobs and save money and the was a lot that was on the high scale very experienced and was active on all skill which has left wards ruined as they was very important people so how is it going to work as a lot of these people have 26 years experience and more in all aspects of care I hope D G O H foundation trust are looking at this matter

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  • There is no need to reintroduce SENs. It is perfectly possible for trusts already to employ Band 4s with foundation degrees to deliver protocol-based care. My former trust did this in learning disabilities and mental health services. Band 3 HCAs with NVQ Level 3 studied for the foundation degrees part-time, with one day a week at the local university.

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