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RCN criticises trust ‘replacing’ nurses with nursing associates



The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has spoken out against the news that NHS Trusts are replacing registered nurses with nursing associates.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has spoken out against the news that NHS Trusts are ‘replacing’ registered nurses with nursing associates.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, one of the test sites, is planning to introduce nursing associates into 21 vacant nursing posts in April when the new nursing associates begin training.

Liz Lees, director of nursing for the trust has said that the scheme will not compromise existing ratios: ‘Incorporating these new roles within our ward-based establishment does not compromise our registered nurse to patient ratio, on which we are well within national guidance.’

Janet Davies of the RCN responded by saying: ‘This is a worrying move and another reminder of the need for more nurses to deliver safe care.  

‘The RCN repeatedly warned the Government that its failure to recruit and retain registered nurses would lead to nursing associates replacing them.

‘It is just not fair on nursing associates to expect them to deliver the same standard of care as a highly trained registered nurse. Support staff must supplement their work, rather than replace them.

Impact on patients

‘Patients are being short changed too. Health outcomes are improved when greater numbers of registered nurses with the right skills mix are on duty. 

‘The Government cannot keep getting away with its failure to ensure the right number of staff with the correct skills mix. It must give urgent priority to increasing the supply of registered nurses.’