The government announced on 17 December that it is creating a new route into nursing, by introducing a Nursing Associate role. The RCN has welcomed this recognition of the value of HCSWs, and the development of an initiative which will allow them to build their skills and to access training via a clear structure. The scheme also offers the opportunity for those in supporting roles to take a shorter route into graduate nursing. The fundamental role of the Registered Nurse does not change – studies show that the number of Registered Nurses has a significant impact on patient outcomes, and this is backed up by the World Health Organization. We will be responding in full to the consultation to ensure that this new role is fully funded, without detracting from the wider workforce, and above all is an asset to care and to patients.