Health Education England (HEE) has revealed that it plans to train 45,000 new nursing associates in the next nine years.
In a recent draft workforce strategy, Health Education England has revealed that it is on target to train 45,000 nursing associates by 2027 with around 17,000 going on to become Registered Nurses using the apprenticeship route.
Presently, HEE provides funding for nursing associate training costs, but from later this year NHS trusts will be expected to use a new form of apprenticeship to fund training.
The nursing associate role was introduced in 2017 by HEE to help bridge the gap between Registered Nurses and Healthcare Support Workers but has received heavy criticism from both sides after trainee nursing associates claimed their training was 'inconsistent'.
Nursing associates will receive training in a variety of clinical skills including; medications administration, venepuncture, cannulation and catheterisation - but their exact role will be tailored to the clinical settings.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) confirmed last year that it would go on to regulate nursing associates and subsequently released draft standards of proficiency.
Professor Ian Cummings, the Chief Executive of Health Education England (HEE), said;
“There continues to be huge enthusiasm for this, both among aspirant trainee nursing associates but also from a very large number of employers who clearly see a need for this role sitting between the healthcare support worker and the registered nurse".
“We simply do not know how many nursing associates want to go on to become registered nurses and how many people will remain as nursing associates".
“We know that in the initial cohort quite a large number of people are expressing an interest in going on to registered nurse training. We anticipate that very large number will be a ‘first cohort’ issue, because we’ve attracted a lot of people who want to be nurses".
“I think as we move through the rest of the cohorts we will see a balancing out of that, of people who want to be nursing associates, but we will just have to say how that plays out".
The first cohort of fully-qualified nursing associates are set to qualify later this year but the NMC has admitted there is still further work needed to ensure they will be fully registered after qualification.