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The regulation of health care support workers

25 July 2007

The RCN has a clear view that all HCSWs should be regulated in the interests of public protection and patient safety. Further we believe that HCSWs who deliver direct clinical care alongside registered nurses in the nursing body, the NMC. However we acknowledge the complexities that surround implementation of HCSW regulation. Therefore the RCN believes a pragmatic first step forwards in an evolutionary process towards HCSW regulation is the regulation of assistant practitioners in nursing by the NMC. 

The RCN recommends:

  1. The RCN, NMC and other key stakeholders agree a UK wide shared understanding about the title assistant practitioner and its related role in nursing as a matter of urgency.
  2. The RCN, NMC and other key stakeholders map the current and predicted numbers of assistant practitioners.
  3. The NMC to establish a register for assistant practitioners in nursing. This would initially need to be a voluntary register until primary legislation could be enacted to establish a statutory register.
  4. The RCN, NMC and other key stakeholders agree the detail of implementation of assistant practitioner regulation, including funding arrangements.
The RCN has a clear view that all HCSWs should be regulated in the interests of public protection and patient safety. Further we believe that HCSWs who deliver direct clinical care alongside registered nurses in the nursing team should be regulated by the nursing regulatory body, the NMC . However we acknowledge the complexities that surround implementation of HCSW regulation. Therefore the RCN believes a pragmatic first step forwards in an evolutionary process towards HCSW regulation is the regulation of assistant practitioners in nursing by the NMC.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email policy.international@rcn.org.uk