Department of Health News


Healthcare student funding consultation launched

Under the existing bursary system two-thirds of people who apply to become a nurse aren’t accepted for training. The proposal to scrap the bursary in favour of student loans will create up to 10,000 more training places by 2020, allowing universities to accept more applicants with the right qualifications than they currently do. The plans will also offer student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals typically around 25% more financial support while they study.

The changes are part of a wider plan from the government to ensure the NHS can adapt to the changing needs of our population, train more nurses in England and reduce the reliance on agency and overseas staff.

You are invited to contribute to theconsultation (  

Health minister Ben Gummer said:

Since the wider reforms to higher education, our universities are offering more places and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to access an undergraduate degree.

Our proposed reforms will extend these benefits to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, who have so far been excluded from these benefits. It is vital that the changes are implemented in the right way, which is why I would encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the consultation.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing at Health Education England, said:

Health Education England is responsible for ensuring the NHS has the right people with the right skills, values and behaviours in the right place at the right time. This mission remains unchanged by the new funding arrangements for nursing and allied health professional university fees, which have the potential to increase the number of graduates available to the NHS by more than is possible under the current arrangements.

Our job, with universities and with the NHS, is to ensure that we continue to recruit high quality graduates to the service to support patients with safe, high-quality services in the future. We encourage everyone with an interest in delivering these services to patients in the future to make their voices heard in response to this consultation.

You need to send your comments by 30th June.

Administration of medicines in care homes (with nursing) for older people by care assistants

This guidance sets out good practice measures for the safe management and handling of medicines in care homes (with nursing) for older people by care assistants. The guidance includes:

  • the legal framework for the administration of prescribed medicines for a named individual by care assistants
  • safety and quality assurance requirements

Administration of medicines by care assistants

Department of Health, University of Leeds. Administration of medicines in care homes (with nursing) for older people by care assistants. 2016. DH. Available at:

This guidance has been prepared to make clear that care workers such as care assistants are not prohibited from administering medicines to residents. It draws attention to existing guidance which sets out good practice measures for the safe management and handling of medicines in this sector. It does not prevail over that guidance and should be read together with it and the relevant legislation.

  • The law does not prevent care assistants from administering medicines in care homes (with or without nursing)
  • Any staff employed by the care home and responsible for the management and administration of medicines must be suitably trained and competent; the care home manager and staff should keep this regularly under review
  • All staff administering medicines must follow the care home's policies and procedures about managing medicines
  • When a RN delegates the administration of medicines to a care assistant then the RN must be confident that the care assistant is competent to take on this task
  • Any care assistant accepting the delegated task of administering or assisting with medicines must take responsibility for ensuring that their actions are carried out carefully, safely and correctly
  • Care assistants need to be aware of their responsibilities if a resident declines to take their medicines; these responsibilities should be included in training and in care home policies and procedures
  • Where care assistants are involved in medicine administration, the RN needs to ensure the continuing assessment of care home residents and their medicines to manage their health care needs and to apply the principles of medicines management  
  • Once a care assistant has accepted the delegated task then they are responsible for administering the medicine as per the prescription and within their organisation’s protocols and guidance. Ultimately, the accountability for the overall nursing care of the patient rests with the RN
  • Delegation, accountability, liability and criminal responsibility need to be clearly understood by RNs and care assistants