The University of Gloucestershire has been named as one of the Universities approved by the Government to deliver training for an important new NHS nursing role.

Health Education England (HEE), the body responsible for planning and developing the healthcare and public health workforce, announced that Gloucestershire was one of 24 test sites that will deliver training for the new Nursing Associate role. This new role will sit alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.

Working in close partnership with Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and the NHS Trusts serving the county – Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 2gether Mental Health NHS Trust, and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust – the University of Gloucestershire will design and deliver training in the new role.

Gloucestershire has been allocated 32 Nursing Associate training places, out of 1,000 places allocated nationally in this wave. Training will start in 2017.

As part of their training programme, Nursing Associates will undertake placements in a variety of health service settings – not just the NHS Trusts, but also partners including Millbrook Lodge – the Order of St John Care Trust, Sue Ryder, Leckhampton Court Hospice and the South West Ambulance Service Trust. These placements will give students hands-on experience of working in the health service, so that they are well prepared to provide a high standard of care to NHS patients in the future.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire said:

“The University is delighted to have been given the green light to play our part in providing training for the important new role of Nursing Associates.

“The health service plays a vital role in the wellbeing of the people of Gloucestershire. We all depend on it. Yet there is a real shortage of people with the skills and qualifications to meet the needs of health service employers, both in the county and nationally. This new role of Nursing Associates should help tackle that shortage. We have built a strong partnership with the NHS organisations in Gloucestershire to develop joint plans for introducing this new training programme, and we are very pleased that we can now move forward to deliver this exciting initiative next year.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality, Health Education England, said:

“The high level of interest in delivering training for this important role means that we have been able to select even more sites to take forward the training. It further underlines the real appetite for helping to deliver this new role which we believe can provide a real benefit to the nursing and care workforce across a range of settings and play a key role in the delivery of patient care with safety at its heart.”

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said:

“This is another big step forward on our University’s journey to teaching health skills, whether through degrees or higher apprenticeships. And it opens the door for my constituents to become among the first Nursing Associates in the country”.

Executive Nurse at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Marion Andrews-Evans said:

“We are delighted to hear this news and it’s a really positive development for Gloucestershire. A lot of hard work has gone in to this and we believe it’s vital for the county’s future that together we develop a sustainable nursing workforce. Not only is this good news for patients, it is also good news for those people keen on pursuing a career as a Nursing Associate with the right training, education and learning support.”

Susan Field, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust said:

This is a great opportunity for Gloucestershire’s health community. Nurses have a hugely important role in community services. A skilled associate nurse workforce will offer greater support to our registered nurses, and help the Trust continue to provide high-quality person-centred care. The new role will provide a clearly defined practice and education pathway, which will help the healthcare community create the conditions for sustainable workforce development, and innovative practice for the people of Gloucestershire. This is an exciting time; I look forward to meeting these Nurse Associates in the near future.

Maggie Arnold, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The Nursing Associate will create a new type of care worker with a higher skill-set to assist, support and complement the care given by registered nurses. It is about creating a workforce that fits around the changing needs of the people that we care for with prevention and wellbeing at the heart of the role.”

Development of a sustainable health and care workforce is a key theme within Gloucestershire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) published last month.