Protection of Non-Registered Clinical Grades from Exploitation

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2018 Health Care Service Group Conference
8 December 2017

Conference notes that due to the policies of the Coalition and recent Conservative Governments that the training of registered members of Healthcare staff is in a precarious state.

An effect of the Government’s abolition of the bursary for Students has led to a substantial fall in the number of applicants for the Nursing degree. According to the RCN in July 2017 the reduction in applications stood at 19%.*

This drop in numbers is enough to cause a recruitment crisis on its own. When considered alongside the equally dramatic drop in applications from EU Nurses which according to an article in the Guardian in June 2017 stood at 94%** it is clear that crisis is already here. There has been an increase in Foreign National Nurses from outside of the EU but that increase is nowhere near enough to stave off the crisis.

Many Trusts are planning to use the new Nursing Associate Role as a way of allaying this crisis. Much of the current role and responsibilities of a Band 5 Nurse is to be devolved to Band 4 non-registered staff with the Band 5 registered Nurses delegating duties to those staff who have the competencies to fulfil those duties.

Agenda for Change does not allow for these Band 4 Non-Registered Nurses to be paid any higher than the top of Band 4. Many Employers will be ‘growing their own’ and encouraging staff to pursue the role of Nursing Associate by promising supported career progression through the Non-Registered grades, from Apprentice to Band 4 and onto Band 5. A laudable aim, but a process which could be open to abuse and there are likely to be employers who would be very content to keep a cheap cohort of band 4 labour with enhanced skills on that banding with, in effect a glass ceiling.

Therefore, we call on the Service Group Executive to:

1)Work towards developing a Best Practice Guide for branches

2)Work with NHS Unions, NHS Staff Council and NHS Employers to encourage them to adopt and possibly implement this Best Practice

To help stop the potential exploitation on Non-Registered Health staff and ensure that there is a genuine path for career progression through Non-Registered into Registered Grades