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Green light for regulation of nursing associates in Wales

Green light for regulation of nursing associates in Wales

Plans for a new nursing associate role in Wales have taken a step forward as the nursing regulator gives the green light for the role to be regulated.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said through regulation of the role, the people of Wales can be confident those in post ‘will be educated effectively to consistent standards’.

Following its regulation approval, the NMC will now write to the UK Government and ask for its legislation to be changed in order to ‘meet the aspirations’ of the Welsh Government.

Health minister in Wales, Eluned Morgan, revealed plans to introduce a nursing associate role to the NHS earlier this year, in a move that she described as a ‘momentous decision for nursing’.

The Royal College of Nursing previously aired some concerns around the development, including a warning that the new role could see health boards substituting nursing associates with registered nurses.

More than 10,000 nursing associates have joined the NMC register since the launch of the role in England in 2019 and some 1,500 have gone on to become registered nurses.

The position is designed to help bridge the gap between registered nurses and healthcare assistants.

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief executive and registrar at the NMC, said: ‘We welcome the expansion of the nursing associate role to Wales.

‘Since the introduction of the role in England five years ago, thousands of nursing associates have successfully joined nursing teams, making a vital contribution to the public’s health and wellbeing – many have gone on to train as registered nurses.’

She added: ‘It’s good to see that another UK country has recognised the positive difference nursing associates make to people’s care.

‘By opting to regulate the role, the people of Wales can have confidence that nursing associates will uphold the same Code as nurses and midwives, and they will be educated effectively to consistent standards.’

Ms Sutcliffe said the NMC would ‘start work immediately to support implementation of this important development’ and it looked forward to meeting with the Department for Health and Social Care and the Welsh Government ‘to discuss the timetable for amending our legislation’.

The move comes as concerns continue around general practice nurses (GPNs) in England being increasingly substituted by nursing associates.

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