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Over 2,000 students to be trained as nursing associates over two years, says HEE

Over 1,000 nursing associates will begin training in December, with a second wave of 1,000 trainees to follow

Health Education England (HEE) will be offering more than 2,000 training places for nursing associates over the next two years.

The health education organisation has said over 1,000 nursing associates will begin training in December, with a second wave of 1,000 trainees to follow.

Nursing associates will be trained across 11 sites over a two year period. The sites were chosen after HEE invited organisations to apply to become “test sites” for the new nursing associate role in June 2016.

HEE said the second wave of trainees was brought in as a result of “high demand from providers wanted to offer training places.” A total of 48 applications were received.

The training sites include a range of organisation including Higher Education Institutions, care homes, acute, community and mental health trusts and hospices, as well as primary care services.

The role was announced by the Under Secretary of State for Care Quality Ben Gummer MP in December 2015, after which HEE launched a six-week public consultation on the proposal that received over 1,300 responses.

The role will bridge the gap between health and care support workers, who have a care certificate, and graduate registered nurses and offers opportunities for health care assistants to progress into nursing roles.

Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive, HEE, said: “We are at a pivotal point in determining what the future nursing and care workforce needs to look like for now and in the years to come.

“I passionately believe that this new role will help build the capacity and capability of the health and social care workforce and allow high quality care to be delivered to a diverse and ageing population.

“Over the last few months we’ve seen widespread support for such a role – we will now move swiftly to make this role a reality and a success.”

Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said the nursing associate role is a “positive and welcome step forward”.

She said: “It is important that we build a workforce to meet the changing needs of the people we care for. The new Nursing Associate role will be a part of a team built around those needs and will provide an exciting opportunity for those who want to progress their careers in the field of health and care.

“The new role also has clear benefits for registered nurses, providing additional support and releasing time to provide the assessment and care they are trained to do, as well as undertake more advanced tasks. This will ensure we use the right skills in the right place and at the right time.”