Hospital cuts nursing numbers to make room for nursing associates

An NHS trust in the West Midlands will reduce its number of registered nurses and replace them with nursing associates.

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust’s has decided to alter its nursing establishment following a skill mix report by it's Chief Nurse Cheryl Etches.

Trust board meeting papers from the 30th of October 2017 reveal the board approved a reduction in the number of full-time equivalent band 5 registered nurses while simultaneously increasing their establishment of nursing associates by 600 percent.


Mrs Etches told the board the trust need an “adaptable contemporary workforce to respond to the changing world”.

The move goes against guarantees made by NHS leaders that the new role should work alongside not replace registered nurses and comes within only hours of an NMC report about the alarming fall in registered nurses.

Cheryl Etches, Chief Nurse at The Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust, made the following statement to the Nursing Times;

“Following discussions within the organisation and taking professional opinions into account, which have been supported by the sisters and senior nursing team, we have decided to increase the number of band 4 positions to make way for the nursing associate and trainee nursing associate roles".

“By introducing these roles, we aim to enhance the quality of personalised care given to our patients however patient safety remains our priority,”

Last month the NMC said professional regulation for nursing associates was getting closer but needs the government to expedite policy change.