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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)

  • sara munday | 25-Feb-2015 11:52 am

    it is a sad attitude and fact of life in Britain right across all of its institutions and one of the main reasons I was glad to leave. those in other European hospitals don't make this distinction between nursing staff. we all work together interdisciplinary team no matter what level with one common goal of focus of care on each and every patient. it is a collegiate, motivating and learning environment where everybody is free and open to dialogue everybody else and it is only in this way that patients and colleagues and patients can have confidence in high standards of care, safety and adequate support for learners which we all are with something new to learn from one another each and every day.

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  • Isn't this sad that the leader of now one of the biggest political parties doesn't realise that this is already in place??
    It is just under a a new job title - Assistant Practitioners. I am in this training post at present within a District Nursing Team, and the feedback from the team is that our role is very much needed. The academic side is at Level 5 (same level as Diploma nurses).
    Our position is also very clinically based, and this helps offload the caseload and number of patients for our qualified nurses to let us all do the job we love - to be able to spend the adequate time with our patients that they so deserve.

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  • Anyone who votes UKIP can say goodbye to nursing as a profession. Years and years of hard work and commitment by thousands of nurses could go to waste. Are readers aware that they have poor policy on green issues? Basically saying they don't interfere in farming methods etc while millions of animals are caged and living miserable lives. Each government has huge influence on how animals are farmed, cared for, antibiotics use etc etc. Going back to nursing (the current government appears to treat us like cattle so why not talk about them!)

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  • I was SEN from 76-91 and then did the conversion course. The problem started when the SEN 'practical' nurse was suddenly stopped from actually doing anything to the patient. In my hospital they stopped SENs doing drugs, IVs, syringe drivers etc whilst still allowing us to run the ward. That is the reason I converted to RGN but I didn't want to. I applied for the SEN course even though I had the required O levels for SRN because it was what I wanted to do. On my first day of the conversion I asked if what had happened to SENs being phased out would also happen to RGNs without degrees - I was assured that it wouldn't. Now, unless you're dripping with degrees you cannot get promotion. Thankfully I reached a senior position soon after qualifying as RGN based on my experience, but know many good, competent RGNs who are overlooked because they do not have a degree. SENs should be brought back but treated as NURSES not HCAs.

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  • Bring back SEN training! Patients need nurses who are concerned about their comfort and well-being - not one who is forever off the ward studying for degrees/masters so they can climb the ladder.

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  • Seems like a very good idea to me, under the old training SEN's were enrolled by the then GNC/UKCC These were people who wanted to nurse were more capable than HCW's but were not interested in being a boss, they wanted to care for people and were pretty good at it. The nearest thing to theses people now are HCA's with level 3 nvq's. Having trained under the old system which did not have the common nursing section, you either trained as a general mental illness or what is now badly named learning difficulties, then added to your basic training as you went along, nurses did not need to be made to do further education in those days, I was teaching, and yes you needed a degree to do this, under the introduction of P2K and the migration to universities. The main difference and the major problem is the size of intakes these days it is difficult to teach in any way other than lectures, it was this aspect that took me back to the wards from the teaching. Therein to traditional training will mean that people who want to nurse, not just get a degree will increase, and the attrition rate after qualification of those not wanting to nurse because it isn't what they thought it was will reduce drastically. There is not now and never has been any rational reason for full graduate nursing in the UK it was forced on to us by the eu.

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  • News just in:

    "Dear Sirs,
    The world's changed. It ain't 1976. You need an effing degree with all the PAPERWORK! The NHS is a pit of vipers. Oh and some of the public aren't who they used to be either you know, they are Twitter reading, ukip voting, lazy, ungrateful, boozing, Facebook updating, scrounging, moaning, violent fame junkies. Good luck with that!
    Kind regards,
    Ms. F Nightingale
    Spinning in a grave somewhere"


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  • It is really sad how people speak to each other online these days. Please just show each other some respect, it makes our profession and the people trying to enter it appear very different to the way we should be perceived. Surely non-judgemental is the one thing that we should be, afterall we dont know what has gone in in each others lives to make us behave the way we do.

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  • I completely agree with the student - some things need to be learnt in the classroom! I am a student and on my different placements I have seen the same things done differently eg gastrostomy feeds. Yet only once out of 4 placements did they follow the correct guidelines, they had them present and we got taught them in lectures and therefore without this mistakes could be continually passed down the line as it takes a responsible, policy-abiding mentor to teach the correct way, and/or a university! I am just not too sure they have thought about this fully, yes we are short staffed but what about more HCA training? More trained university students? But I still strongly believe that there are aspects of nursing that requires university education, especially for a quality improvement point of view!

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  • Anonymous | 26-Feb-2015 10:19 am

    good comment and also the page is open to the public!

    there is so much aggression not just in the comments but in the topics of the articles themselves across the media. this morning I saw on in the telegraph on male domestic abuse with a tragic picture and it made me think of all the violence, aggression, trickery and fraud that goes on right around the world starting somewhere as small as a family argument around the breakfast table, to the comments, to the abuse of the elderly and not just physical and mental but also those who trick them out of their savings or beat them up in their own homes and right up to full scale war and the Ukraine, Syria, hostage talking and the recent killings, etc. All I could say to myself on seeing this article and on reflecting on some o the comments, and especially in the national press, is how can people be so nasty to each other and how can one wish to harm another human being. By comparison I just think of all the richness that one can gain from any human encounter and especially among those in one's closer circle.

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