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Health Education England responds to NMC student placement announcement

14 January 2021

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today announced it will reintroduce emergency education standards to enable final year nursing students to opt-in to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, via extended clinical placement. 


This decision follows a request from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, supported by the Chief Executive of the NHS in England, in response to the continuing, intense pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Responding to the news Mark Radford, Chief Nurse of HEE and Deputy CNO for England, said 

“Students made difficult choices in the initial phase of the pandemic to volunteer for paid placement or not. I am proud of each of them and the choice they made. We have since worked with Universities to support those students to catch up the education and training they missed. Our role is to balance support for the students individually and collectively, be there when the NHS needs us most, and ensure a future pipeline of newly qualified nurses with as little delay as possible.  


Whilst we hoped we would not need to take this action again we once again ask our third years to be part of the response. We will work with partners to ensure all students are supported which ever year group, wherever they work, and that they learn and develop as well as provide support to the NHS. We are especially pleased that the need for continued education and training was recognised by all partners in making this difficult decision.” 


Navina Evans, HEE Chief Executive, said:  


“Student nurses make a huge contribution to health and social care whilst training. Last year, in their thousands, they impressively highlighted their passion and commitment by volunteering to support the response to the first phase of the pandemic. 


Requesting nursing students once again to volunteer for Covid-19 roles is a huge ask and, rightly, is a last resort for an NHS under extreme pressure. HEE will balance support for students and their education, ensure the future workforce pipeline is protected as much as possible, and be there when the system needs help in extraordinary times. 


Implementing this decision will be challenging. HEE will work with partners to take the right measures to support students wherever they work and provide them with the education and training resources they need to pursue their careers as quickly as possible.  


Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures so we will support this decision and then work with partners to ensure the measures we need to take now do not cost us the future we need for patients over the coming years.”