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Health: Nurses and Health Care Assistants

House of Lords written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Lord Willis of Knaresborough Lord Willis of Knaresborough Chair, Science and Technology: Sub-Committee I (Higher education in STEM subjects)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of (1) registered nurses, and (2) health care assistants currently working in settings inspected by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Care Quality Commission.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

As at 30 September 2011, the Health and Social Care Information Centre annual workforce census shows that there were 306,346 full-time equivalent qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff and 44,787 full-time equivalent health care assistants employed by the National Health Service.

All registered nurses will have completed a pre-registration nursing education programme. These programmes take place in approved higher education institutions. Only students who have successfully completed an approved nursing or midwifery programme, and who have met the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements of good health and good character, can apply to join the register.

Registration is renewed every three years, and registrants must be able to demonstrate that they meet NMC required standards for continuing professional development and practice. In order to meet these standards, nurses must demonstrate that they have undertaken 35 hours of learning activity relevant to their practice and completed 450 hours of practice during the three years prior to the renewal of registration.

The Care Quality Commission has the power to inspect all NHS organisations. However, some of the staff reported in the annual census will be employed in settings not covered by this power.

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