UK policy requiring the involvement of service users and carers in nurse education

There is a long history showing that he Department of Health and other bodies have recognised the importance of involving service users and carers in teaching and learning. This webpage offers a bank of quotations drawn from key policy documents.

Nursing and Midwifery Council 

  • NMC (undated) Quality Assurance Framework for nursing and midwifery education and their 2014 annual self assessment programme monitoring report included a section on service user and carer involvement. Since September 2015, all teaching staff on nurse training courses must maintain a personal learning log. The NMC has made it clear that service users and carers should be involved in student selection.
  • “You should ensure that, where possible and appropriate, the selection process also includes …service users.” NMC (2010) Standards for pre-registration nursing education p59
  • “Programme providers must clearly show how users and carers contribute to programme design and delivery.” NMC (2010) Standards for pre-registration nursing education p66.
  • “Programme providers must make it clear how service users and carers contribute to the assessment process.” NMC (2010) Standards for pre-registration nursing education p82.


Health and Care Professions Council

HCPC have given a very clear signal that they expect service users and carers to be involved in nurse education, as shown in the quotations below. They also include trained lay visitors in their review and revalidation teams, thereby modelling the behaviour they expect from others.

  • “You may want to show how you involve service users in your admissions and selections procedures. You could, for example, explain how service users are involved in your short-listing or interviewing processes or how they contribute to the design of interviewing questions or scenarios.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p8.
  • “You must provide evidence of your monitoring and evaluation systems. Evidence might include…an analysis of service users’ feedback through programme committees, employer liaison groups, local or national forums, and questionnaires” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p8.
  • “We will need to see evidence of the resources that students use and have access to… may include: service users being directly involved in supporting student learning” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p23.
  • “Service users and carers must be involved in the programme… they could be involved in some or all of the following: Selection, Developing teaching approaches and materials, Programme planning and development, Teaching and learning activities, Feedback and assessment, Quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p31.
  • “The evidence you provide could include: information about how you plan, monitor and evaluate involvement activity; policies about how service users and carers are prepared for their roles and supported when they are involved in the programme; an analysis of service users’ and carers’ feedback through groups, committees and questionnaires; and examples of how the involvement of service users and carers has contributed to the programme. “HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p32.
  • “We expect you to provide evidence of how you make sure the curriculum stays relevant. This may include: evidence of regular contact with service users… evidence of the contribution that stakeholders (including service users) make in the programme planning process.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p37.
  • “Explain how service users take part directly in teaching sessions or how they have influenced the development of training materials.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p41.
  • “You should see overall governance as a process for reviewing and improving the service user’s experience. So, we will need to make sure that there is evidence of a quality assurance system to support both the student and the service user within the practice placement setting.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p44.
  • “You may want to show how you involve service users in your assessment procedures. You could, for example, explain how service users are involved directly in assessing students or how service users contribute to the development of assessment tools.” HCPC (2014) Standards of Education and training guidance p57.
  • ‘Programme management and resources – Service users and carers must be involved in the programme’. (HCPC (2015) Standards for Prescribing p6.


Health Education England

  • HEE has decided; “Our ambition is to put the needs of the patient at the heart of the education, training and workforce planning process.  That is why HEE is committed to establishing a Patient Advisory Forum which will provide advice to the Board, the Strategic Advisory Forum and the Advisory Groups to ensure that the needs of the patient are at the heart of the education, training and workforce planning process and ensure a better connection between the decision and investments HEE will make and the people they will ultimately effect.”
  • “HEE should work with NHS England, PHE, professional bodies, charities, experts-by-experience and others to develop a costed, multi-disciplinary workforce strategy for the future shape and skill mix of the [mental health] workforce.” Five Year Forward View for Mental Health for the NHS in England 2016, p76.
  • “It is key that education and training is co-produced between patients and trainees, and that both nurses and care assistants have an individual understanding of their patients and their personal health journey. Many education providers already address this, but there must be greater encouragement to do more in practice.” Health Education England (2015), Raising the Bar –  Shape of Caring: A Review of the Future Education and Training of Registered Nurses and Care Assistants p35.


UK Government

“Every public authority shall in carrying out its functions have due regard to — (a) the need to promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons; and (b) the need to encourage participation by disabled persons in public life.” Disability Discrimination Act 1995, section 49A.

  • The UK White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety – The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century‘ (DH 2007) advocates greater patient and public involvement, especially in the professions’ regulatory bodies to ensure decision are driven by patient’s interests, not vested interests. (see para 1.11, page 25).
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health Education England, Local Education and Training Boards, and commissioners in NHS England to enable… the effective participation of the public in the commissioning process itself, so that services provided reflect the needs of local people. This includes education.
  • ‘The patient voice should… be heard during the commissioning of healthcare, during the training of healthcare personnel, and in the regulation of healthcare services.’ National Advisory Group on the Safety of Patients in England (2013) Improving the Safety of Patients in England p18.
  • Is introducing the Teaching Excellence Framework from 2017 which will add new quality assurance processes within higher education. The TEF team have not yet considered how to ensure that TEF supports service user and carer involvement in teaching and learning.


Skills for Health 

Skills for Health (2007) Enhancing quality in partnership: Healthcare education QA framework. Skills for Health, Leeds) listed eleven principles for high quality nurse education and one of these was service user and carer involvement.

Skills for Health (undated) Your Voice Counts: How patients and the public can influence education and training to improve health and health care. This document says: “Skills for Health is ensuring that patients, carers and the public are involved in the development of healthcare education programmes with the aim of improving both the quality of healthcare education and patient care and experience. An Involvement Advisory Group was set up by Skills for Health in December 2005 to work on this agenda in partnership with learners and people who use health services. A priority for the group has been to develop jargon-free information to help put this policy into action.”

General Medical Council

While the GMC is focused on doctors rather than nurses, it is interesting to note that they have made a clear statement here that ‘Medical education and training should be more focused on meaningful patient involvement, including in-service design.’