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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'd come on here to make a flippant comment about UKIP wanting to take us back to the 1950's. Seems they're not the only ones and a lot of nurses despise their younger colleagues who are "always off the ward studying for degrees" and would rather things were taken back to ritualised care rather than evidence based care that all our colleagues use. We will never be taken seriously as a profession while we still behave like this.

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  • it never ceases to amaze me how everyone who knows nothing about nursing wants to decide how to train nurses, politicians need to take a deep breath and stop changing everything, I would love mps to work as a nurse for a year, not just having a photo of him trying to help make a bed, clearly that is all he thinks nurses do

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  • michael stone

    redpaddys12 | 25-Feb-2015 10:11 am

    Mike, great minds and all that!

    I'm not often described as a great mind on this website (fool and idiot are more common descriptors) - much more interestingly, your comment (which at least one other person and I have referred to) seems to have been removed without any statement to that effect ? Rather naughty in my opinion - if a comment is removed, NT should leave a 'comment removed' notice in the discussion thread !

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  • Ever get the feeling that some politicians would like to get rid of nurses altogether and replace them with family help and carers on minimum wage (not even living wage).

    Then if you want nurses you'll have to pay one of their private companies who supply them, costing an arm and a leg. Nurses would probably still not be paid properly, not enough resources and having to train + develop in their own time/expense.
    A hideous vision that hopefully won't be realised.

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  • michael stone

    andy | 27-Feb-2015 3:25 pm

    Well, UKIP does seem to be to the right of the Tory average, doesn't it ? And right-wing Tories, don't wholeheartedly support public services, do they - or have I misunderstood their ideology ?

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  • Mike Stone

    Just goes to show that the far-left and the far-right are both equally into censorship and against freedom of expression ( SHAME ON YOU NT).


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  • michael stone

    So your comment has disappeared without trace, Red ?

    I couldn't be 100% sure, because I wasn't certain where it should have been (but browsing over this one, and over your comments in your profile, didn't seem to show it, so I was pretty sure it had disappeared).

    I don't speak much French - does that translate to 'I am Redpaddy and I'n dozy' ?

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  • why is there no debate about other job roles? I cannot think of any other field which is advocating fewer qualificaitons. If SEN training is brought back, humans will be cared for by a trained and legal worker with fewer qualifications (2 grades) than that of a animal care Nurse.
    Does UKIP appreciate research based evidence that endorse the fact of smaller ratios of patients to Registered Nurses displaying better outcomes for all concerned!
    However, there is scope for all support workers to be trained adequately (especialy home-care staff).

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  • michael stone | 1-Mar-2015 12:22 pm

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 1-Mar-2015 9:32 pm

    Two questions - are you Red, and did you answer the question I posed at 1 Mar 12:22 ?

    Or were you simply 'off-topic' twice, there ?

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