Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce new nursing degree apprenticeship, opening up a career in nursing to more people.

The first apprentice nurses could be working on wards from September, and once established, up to 1,000 apprentice nurses could join the NHS each year.

Aspiring nurses will join the apprenticeship at different stages, depending on their qualifications and experience, and stay in work whilst learning. By offering staff who want to progress more flexibility, regardless of whether they are health care support workers or already working towards higher level qualifications, employers will be able to open up a career in nursing to people from all backgrounds.

The new nursing associate role will work alongside healthcare support workers to deliver hands on care, freeing up existing nurses so they can spend more time using their more specialist training to focus on clinical duties and take more of a lead in decisions round a patient’s care. Interest in the role has already seen Health Education England expand the number of training places on the pilot scheme increase from 1,000 to 2,000.

People who complete the nursing associate apprenticeship will be able to count that training towards a nursing degree.

Health Education England is inviting applications from health care settings who are interested in becoming test sites for the new Nursing Associate role – an innovation that emerged from Shape of Caring Review (March 2015).

The role is designed to build capacity to care and capability to treat across the health and social care system. And, as the recent consultation demonstrated, there is a huge appetite for this new role which can provide a real benefit to the nursing and care workforce across a range of settings and play a key role in the delivery of patient care with safety at its heart.

HEE is seeking to identify strong partnerships between employers and education providers. The lead organisation in any partnership must be an employer allied to an STP footprint that will accept the funding allocation, and all partnership members will keep to the standard terms of the funding arrangement.

Successful organisations will become test sites and train a minimum of 20 students over two years starting from December 2016 and will fully participate in the monitoring and evaluation of the programme.

The six-week application window will close at 5pm on Wednesday 10 August.

Two webinars will also take place (13 July and 25 July) providing information on HEE recruitment process of test site partnerships – please do join and share your thoughts and insights.

A new role that will sit alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care moved a step closer today as Health Education England (HEE) published the response to its recent consultation on the Nursing Associate role. The consultation attracted more than 1,000 responses from individuals including patients, members of the public and a wide range of organisations including professional bodies, trade unions, health care and social care providers and commissioners of healthcare.

The role will be given the title Nursing Associate. In order to get the implementation of the Nursing Associate role right, HEE intends to appoint ‘test sites’. Five workshops will take place in England in July so that HEE can engage with stakeholders on the scope of practice of the new role. Early test sites will recruit 1,000 students to start training for the new role in 2017.

HEE will run five events in July across England, where they will invite people and organisations to help draw up the scope of practice for the role. The dates and locations are set out below and bookings will be open soon, via Eventbrite – more information will be available on the HEE website.

1 July             Birmingham
15 July           London
20 July           Manchester
22 July           Reading
29 July           Newcastle

Join Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, HEE’s Nursing Director, for a Twitter chat on the @WeNurses platform on Tuesday 7 June (8-9pm) to debate areas of the consultation and ask questions using the hashtag #shapeofcaring.  They will also running a webinar, the details of which will be available at the HEE website.

Health Education England (HEE) has launched a consultation process and is keen to hear views on the new role which will work alongside health care support workers and fully-qualified nurses to deliver hands on care, focusing on ensuring patients continue to get the compassionate care they deserve. The new role will help bridge the gap between health and care support workers, who have a care certificate and graduate registered nurses. It also offer opportunities for health care assistants to progress into nursing roles.

Healthcare employers, nurses, care assistants, health commissioners and other stakeholders are invited to comment on the design of a new nursing support role.

The consultation seeks views on a range of issues, this includes:

  • Principles for the new care role.
  • learning outcomes that will need to be assessed to assure quality, safety and public confidence in the proposed role.
  • Identifying what academic achievement, if any, would be required, alongside practical skills and how this learning should be best delivered.
  • looking at whether or not the proposed role should be regulated.
  • Agreeing the title of this new role. It has provisionally been given the title Nursing Associate.

This is your opportunity to have your say in the development of a role that will play an important part in the delivery of future healthcare and meet the diverse health needs of people up and down the country.

The consultation closes at midnight on 11 March 2016.