East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has said that because the vacancies were left unfilled the introduction of Nursing Associate will enhance the team.
The trust is set to remove more than 20 nurse vacancies in order to introduce the same number of nursing associates leading to an expected saving of £130,359 per year.
Liz Lees, Chief Nurse at the trust, has insisted that move is not a substitution as the post remained empty. In a statement to the NursingTimes she said; "We have got vacant roles. So it's not role substitution , it's enhancing the team".
The organisation is one of the many pilot sites for the new Nursing Associate role, which according to the government, has been designed to bright the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses.
Nursing Associates are paid at band 3 while they complete 2 year course and band 4 upon completion - you can see their recently released job description. Nursing Associates can then complete a 'top-up' course to obtain full Registered Nurse status - see the 'Routes Into Nursing' infographic.