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Nursing apprenticeships will allow students to “earn while they learn”

Sarah J

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Jeremy Hunt is set to announce 14,500 places for apprentices to become registered nurses by 2019 in his conference speech later today.

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During his speech today at the Conservative Party Conference, Jeremy Hunt is set to announce plans to create a new nurse apprenticeship route and commit to training an additional 5,500 nursing associates each year by 2019.

Nursing apprenticeships will allow students to “earn while they learn” and obtain a degree and full Nursing and Midwifery Council registration less than in 4 years. Nursing apprentices won’t have to pay tuition fees, the cost of the apprenticeship will be paid for by employers.

Mr Hunt will also promise to increase the number of university places by 25% for undergraduate degree nursing courses.

Speaking today, Mr Hunt will describe the changes as; “The biggest increase in nurse training places in the history of the NHS”.

The announcement comes after the RCN called for an “urgent review” of hospital staffing levels after they warned patient safety and dignity is being put at risk by over-stretched services.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, responding to the announcement in Jeremy Hunt’s Conservative Party conference speech on nurse education, said: 

“Significant increases to training numbers is welcome – we desperately need more nurses. However, they must be educated to the highest standards. We are concerned at the risk of students plugging the gaps in the current workforce at the expense of quality patient care and their own learning experience. 

“These plans appear too hospital-focused. It is essential nurses of the future have a flexible education which enables them to work in a variety of settings to deliver a 21st century health and care service. We are prepared to work with the Government on meaningful solutions for the education of nurses.

“Greater flexibility for nurses working extra shifts, supported by new technology, should improve their experience and we support this move.”

Experts have warned that the country’s hospitals are heading for a winter care crisis which they say could be the worst in recent history.

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NMC says regulation for nursing associates moves a step closer

James M

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say regulation for nursing associates is getting closer and is expected by July 2018.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has welcomed the Department of Health’s consultation on proposed changes to its legislation to enable the regulation of nursing associates.

The consultation follows the decision of the NMC’s Council to agree to regulate the new role, following a request from the Secretary of State for Health in January 2017.

Earlier this month the NMC released it’s draft standards of proficiency for Nursing Associates.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“This consultation is a vital step towards the NMC becoming the regulator of nursing associates.

“It’s always been our ambition to open the register to nursing associates in January 2019, when the first trainees qualify. But in order to do so, it’s critical that Government drives through the necessary changes to our legislation, to ensure that we’re able to protect the public from the moment the first qualified nursing associates begin to practise.”

The NMC expects the necessary changes to its legislation to come into force by July 2018. This will give the regulator six months until the first trainees qualify to complete the activities that need to be in place in order to open the register. This includes approving the NMC’s Rules and fees, approval of the final nursing associate standards and approval of nursing associates programme providers.

The consultation, Regulation of Nursing Associates in England, will run from 16 October to 26 December.

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Snacks sold in hospital shops should be under 250 calories

James M

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Image: Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England says snacks sold in hospitals canteens or shops should all be under 250 calories.

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NHS Hospitals will be given cash incentives to comply with a new ‘healthy eating’ campaign which will see a significant reduction in the number of sugary snacks, drinks and confectionary inside hospital shops and canteens.

The proposals will also extend to sandwiches, which must be under 400 calories, and all other pre-packed savoury meals, which should contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Cans and bottles of sugary soft drinks are also covered by the ban, as well as sugary drinks made in cafes and canteens such as coffees with sugar syrup.

Hospital chiefs will need to ensure that 80% of items sold do not exceed the 250-calorie limit in order to receive the cash bonus.

It is unknown if this ban will extend to third-party organisations such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks.

Research has suggested that almost 700,000 of 1.3 million NHS employees are overweight or obese.

Last year, controversial expert hypnotist Steve Miller said healthcare professionals should lead the fight against the fat and wants overweight NHS staff to carry ‘I’m fat, but I’m losing it’ badges to inspire patients and colleagues.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:

“The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the super-size snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer. “In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

NHS England has pledged to boost the sale of healthy foods and end promotions of sugary and fatty or salty foods at checkouts.

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