Over the past 5 years, England has experienced a growing shortage of nurses in the health and care workforce. One of the Department for Health and Social Care’s responses to this challenge was to develop a new health and care professional role in England (called ‘nursing associate’). They asked the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to regulate the new profession, who in turn invited KPMG, a long-term adviser, to help the NMC to deliver a great project.
This new profession is designed to bridge the gap between healthcare assistants and registered nurses. Very much a profession in its own right, it also acts a stepping-stone to becoming a registered nurse — a way of increasing social mobility and improving access to a career in health and care, not least because a nursing associate qualification can be achieved via an apprenticeship.
For two years KPMG worked alongside the NMC as their delivery partner. KPMG’s role was to help design and implement the regulation of this new profession, engaging with stakeholders to ensure the approach enabled nursing associates to smoothly enter the workforce.
KPMG supported the NMC in setting the education standards and creating the suite of regulatory systems and processes needed to protect patients and service users. This included registration, revalidation of professional skills and ensuring fitness to practise processes are in place.
This was the first time a new healthcare profession had been created and regulated at the same time. Thousands of students have begun training and with many more to be recruited during 2019. Already, there are over 1,000 nursing associates delivering care to patients across England.
By 2021, there are plans for approximately 15,000 nursing associates to be in the workforce in England – a major boost for the NHS and patients nationwide.