David Cameron has defended his plans to make trainee nurses spend a year as a health care assistants, assisting with patients’ day-to-day needs, rather than giving medical care.
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The plans have been revealed in the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust scandal where around 1000 patients died. Ministers believe that by showing students the basics of nursing it will improve their overall training. The Royal College of Nursing however is unimpressed and has commented that the plans are a “stupid idea” and will “take nursing back a hundred years”. Mr Cameron, speaking in Derby today, said: “We have said in the light of that report that nurses should spend some time when they are training as health care assistants in the hospital really making sure that they are focused on caring and the quality and some of the quite mundane tasks that are absolutely vital to get right in hospital. And that is going to be controversial but in the end the sort of health service we want is not just about making sure we have got the facts and the figures and the money and everything else spent well, it’s the level of care as well.”