More than £2.5m is being spent piloting a government scheme to make aspiring student nurses work as healthcare assistants for a year before university courses, apparently contradicting a commitment that it would be cost neutral, HSJ can reveal.

The flagship policy was championed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of the government’s initial response to the Francis report. It followed Robert Francis QC’s recommendation that all aspiring nurses have at least three months’ hands on experience.

However, it was met with almost universal opposition from senior nursing figures who felt mandating a year’s experience for all new recruits was excessive, would undermine the existing HCA workforce and be logistically extremely difficult for providers to organise without costing more money.

Reported by the Health Service Journal. You can read the full story here.

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