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Response to the Shape of Caring review

Health Education England (HEE) has today published its response to Raising the Bar - Shape of Caring: A Review of the Future Education and Training of Registered Nurses and Care Assistants. The foreword is written by Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality for HEE and Jackie Smith, Chief Executive and Registrar Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Our care and nursing workforce is the driving force behind the delivery of high-quality and safe person-centred care in all healthcare settings. No healthcare system can be better than the quality of its workforce: our care and nursing teams are an indispensable asset to the NHS, social care and other healthcare providers.

Compassion, dedication and guidance are the hallmarks of caring and nursing practice. Worldwide, it is clear that high quality education is the key enabler of high quality care. The education and training that care assistants and Registered Nurses receive is fundamental to securing high quality care outcomes for service users and to empowering these professionals to have a fulfilling and rewarding career. The care and nursing workforce is in the midst of significant change: service redesign, higher patient expectations and new technology are just some of the features of a paradigm shift towards locally-based, flexible, integrated and accessible healthcare provision, seven days a week. Care assistants and Registered Nurses are powerful agents of change to enable this shift.

Health Education England (HEE) commissioned the Shape of Caring review, which made 34 recommendations for HEE and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on how nurse and care assistant education and training can be improved given their expanding and changing roles against the backdrop of service transformation. In principle, HEE accepts all 34 recommendations and is now working on plans for the 26 recommendations that are within its remit.

The learning from the review and HEE engagement exercise on its recommendations has highlighted that there is a wealth of excellent practice in the education and training of care assistants and Registered Nurses today. However this is not universal and there is much variability. Also, the current landscape does not give the care and nursing workforce time to reflect and refine their craft, despite the widespread call for accessible, innovative and relevant continuing learning and development.

HEE has listened to the views of patients and people who use healthcare services, care assistants, Assistant Practitioners, Registered Nurses, organisations and many others throughout the review and subsequent HEE engagement exercise. We heard from many participants that they want high-quality education, placements and lifelong learning to support them to provide bespoke, safe, person-centred care and to meet future pressures and requirements. They want education to be co-produced with patients and services users, from curriculum design and delivery to assessing competence. They also want meaningful roles that recognise the value of diverse members of the health and social care workforce.

In response to the review’s recommendations, the NMC has already embarked on a fundamental review of the skills and competencies that future nurses will be expected to meet for pre-registration, with the consultation phase commencing later in 2016. The review aims to ensure that future training reflects the changing health and care landscape, the blurring of professional boundaries and the increased expectations of nurses’ capabilities.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver real change for the care and nursing professions and to give recognition to the status that care and nursing roles rightly command.

We would like to thank all the individuals and organisations who took the time to engage with this vital debate about the Shape of Caring now and in the future. Our response to those views in this report marks a clear commitment to a programme of action that will empower and equip the care assistant and nursing professions to continue to be world class and a highly valued part of the health and social care workforce.

A series of video animations has been created to explore some of the key themes of the Shape of Caring review. All four animations have been playlisted under Shape of Caring at the HEE YouTube channel.


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