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Nursing Associates

NMC called to clarify the responsibility, authority and accountability of Nursing Associates

James M

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has started to draw up professional standards for Nursing Associates but many call for clarity.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is currently the educational and professional standards of practice for the new nursing associate role but many have called for further clarification on accountability rather than clinical ability.

The nursing associate role is currently being piloted by Health Education England (HEE) with 2,000 nursing associates due to qualify in January 2019 and will be regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

NMC council member and Executive Nurse Director at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Ruth Walker, has said that an important part of the NMC’s work on the Nursing Associate role would be to clarify what level of responsibility, authority and accountability the associates had – rather than just stating the tasks they should be able to complete.

She went on to explain that; “we need to understand whether it’s the registrant we are holding to account for the delegation of tasks or the nursing associate in their own right“.

Poor planning and a lack of definition from HEE or the NMC has lead to increased anxiety with Registered Nurses around the introduction of the new role.

The NMC plans a formal consultation on the standards and code this spring.

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Nursing Associates

Nursing associates could be the answer to the NHS staffing crisis

James M

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Nursing associates could be the answer to the NHS staffing crisis as many healthcare trusts struggle to recruit and retain registered nurses.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) estimates there are around 40,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies, which, alongside a significant reduction in student nurses means an influx of nursing associates could go some way to alleviating the pressure on front-line services.

The majority of trainee nursing associates were previously very experienced healthcare assistants with a vast amount of untapped practical knowledge and despite some initial teething problems extra staff will be a welcome sight for many.

According to Health Education England (HEE) the nursing associate role is designed to sit between healthcare support workers (HCAs) and registered nurses (RNs) to assist in delivering hands-on care for patients.

In January, the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced it would create a new part of the NMC register specifically for nursing associates.

Presently, around 2000 trainee nursing associates are taking part in the pilot scheme with the first cohort are due to qualify in January 2019.

We have approached the Royal College of Nursing and Nursing and Midwifery Council for comment. 

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Nursing Associates

HMRC say nursing associates do not qualify for tax exemptions

Ian Snug

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NHS Employers have confirmed that nursing associates do not qualify for tax exemption under the HMRC Widening Access Training (WAT) scheme.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have taken the view the role does not qualify for the tax and national insurance (NI) exemptions on the basis that the income received is more similar in nature to a salary than a scholarship income.

In order to be eligible for a refund, or receive payments free of tax and NI contributions, applicants need to satisfy certain qualifying conditions. These are: either an employee receives an income as part of a scholarship or bursary; or receives full-time instruction at a recognised university or similar establishment open to the public.

HMRC have taken the view that the payments received by trainees are subject to superannuation contributions, where progression can be made on a salary scale, making them more characteristic of a salary rather than the receipt of a bursary or similar endowment. It is also considered that as the majority of training is provided in-post by the NHS, with possibly only one day per week spent at an educational establishment, this does not satisfy the qualifying conditions.

NHS Employers is advising Nursing Associates who have received differing advise to contact HMRC by emailing [email protected] or calling 03000 555798.

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