Accessing nurses during COVID-19

We’re the primary point of contact for social care ensuring that providers who need to access the “Bringing back staff” deployment of registered nurses in social care settings. There are currently seven regional hubs making decisions about deployment of nurses returning to the workforce, and we want to make sure that social care needs are met in the same way as the NHS. Skills for Care is working in each region to help coordinate the voice of social care stakeholders.

All providers and employers should refer to the HM Government guidance set out in the COVID-19: Care home support package dated 22 May 2020. Providers should be taking steps to ensure they have the staff they need to provide safe and high quality care and support. The nurse returners programme provides an additional recruitment option for employers to help with nursing shortages as a result of COVID-19.

Steps to nurse deployment 

▸Register and complete the 'Capacity Tracker'

The NHS and Social Care Capacity Tracker has been developed to include nursing workforce questions. To access deployed nurses, you must register on the NHS and Social Care Capacity Tracker and input information about your nursing workforce needs. This information is fed into the existing regional hubs and used in their nurse deployment decision making process, which is already functioning for the NHS. 
⇨  Register on the NHS and Social Care Capacity Tracker 

▸Email us the details of your nursing workforce need

Once you have filled in the Capacity Tracker, please email details of your nursing workforce need to Make sure you include any information about your establishment or service type that will help in deploying the right staff. This will trigger the process of considering deployment to your establishment. 


         nurse flowchart                                                       


The nurse deployment flowchart

We've produced a flowchart to help you understand the provider’s journey in accessing the process to request the deployment of a registered nurse into your setting during the COVID-19 crisis. The flowchart shows the journey from identifying the need for a nurse to a nurse being deployed. 

⇨ Download the flowchart 



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Accessing nurses during COVID-19: factsheet one

A PDF which includes all of the key information and flowchart for the first stage of the process is available to download. 

⇨ Download factsheet one



Please note: we are not responsible for deploying nurses. These decisions are being made by the regional hubs; our role is to ensure that social care is included in this decision-making process. 

Key questions about a returning nurse working in your establishment:

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided a clear statement about additional resources to support care homes. 

On 13th May the Government announced that it would make available a £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care.

The Department for Health and Social Care have distributed the first tranche of this money to local authorities and 75% of this will be passed onto care homes to help them put in place measures to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission in and between care homes and to support wider workforce resilience. Care homes can choose to prioritise some of their allocation to recruiting additional staff to enable staff to work in only one care home or to work only with an assigned group of residents or only in specified areas of a care home. This includes paying for a temporary nurse from the nurse returners programme to help with staff shortages.

The first tranche of £300m was allocated to local authorities on 22 May and the second tranche will be available in July. Care homes must complete the capacity tracker on a consistent basis to receive their full allocation of funding. This funding must be spent within two months of the authority receiving the second instalment.


Local authorities have the discretion to allocate the remaining 25% of funding to care homes or to domiciliary care providers to support wider workforce resilience in relation to COVID-19 infection control.

There are two ways a returning nurse on the NMC COVID-19 temporary register might be employed:

  1. Directly by a social care provider – the provider will need to enter into an appropriate contract of employment and may use their allocation of the Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care as set out above towards those costs.

  2. By a ‘host’ employer organisation such as a local CCG or Community Trust. In this case a nurse would be loaned or seconded to the social care provider, and all matters relating to pay and terms and conditions would be dealt with by the ‘host’ organisation. Providers would need to enter into arrangements with the ‘host’ to pay for the nurse from their Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care allocation. Providers will be responsible for the direction of nursing care and indemnity.

This is a decision for providers employing the returning nurse. For your information, nurses returning to work in the NHS have been paid at the top of Agenda for Change band 5. 

The Department of Health and Social Care has issued the following statement:

Returning nurses who are deployed into social care settings will need to be covered by the indemnity arrangements of the receiving social care providers. All social care providers are required to have insurance and suitable indemnity arrangements in place for the services they provide, and these arrangements provide cover for all staff working under the direction of a provider. This includes staff who are working with them on a secondment or loan from another organisation, and volunteers.

Returning nurses who have returned to practice during the covid-19 pandemic may be redeployed into care homes with nursing provision. In these instances, the receiving social care provide will be directing the work of those nurses and must therefore provide the indemnity cover, even where a nurse remains employed by a loaning organisation, such as an NHS employer. The receiving provider will need to confirm with the loaning employer that existing indemnity and insurance arrangements are adequate to cover staff being loaned to them as part of the redeployment process.

A letter setting out this position was sent from the Minister for Social Care to the NHS Confederation.

All returners have been directed to register and complete the four statutory and mandatory training modules deemed critical prior to returning to the workplace. These are:

  1. Health, Safety and Welfare

  2. Fire Safety

  3. Infection Prevention and Control – Level 2

  4. Resuscitation – Level 2

In addition, we strongly recommend: 

5. Learning resources for returning nurses

A returner who has been deployed to your establishment may have already completed the modules, be in the process of completing the modules or, on occasion they may not have started. If the returner has an active log in to e-learning for health they will be able to log in.

You should be able to check that these have been completed. Please ask the returner to print or save a copy of the completion/pass certificate to show to your employer. Further induction training including specific COVID-19 training can be accessed via e-learning for health – learning resources for returning nurses and/or should be provided locally. 

If the returner does not have an active log in to e-learning for health, they can still access the learning modules.  

⇨  Access the learning modules.  

  1. Choose folder: Statutory and mandatory training

  2. Complete all of the modules

  3. Choose folder: Learning resources for returning Nurses

  4. Complete the modules

At the end of each module ask the returner to scroll to the bottom of the screen which will show if complete and passed. Take a screen shot with date and time as evidence of completion.  

Visit Skills for Care’s COVID-19 updates for registered nurses area for more information on training and links to resources.



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Nurse deployment to your organisation

We've produced a flowchart to show you the journey once a nurse has been deployed to your organisation.This flowchart shows the journey once a nurse has been deployed to your organisation.

⇨ Download the flowchart  


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Accessing nurses during COVID-19: factsheet two

A PDF which includes all of the key information and flowchart for the first stage of the process is available to download.    

⇨ Download factsheet two  

Guidance documents on all matters relating to the deployment and employment of returning nurses to social care

There are two guidance documents on all matters relating to the deployment and employment of returning nurses to social care.

These comprehensive documents were initially prepared for NHS employers and have been adapted to provide the relevant information for social care providers and employers. This includes detail on all the pre-employment checks undertaken with returning nurses.

guidance for employers FAQs   

For employers where the returning nurse is employed by the social care provider.

Download 'Guidance for employers and FAQs where returning nurse is directly employed by social care provider' 

 guidance for employers FAQs HOST  

For employers where the returning nurse is employed by a host employer.

⇨ Download 'Guidance for employers and FAQs where returning nurse is employed by a host employer'



Webinar: Redeployment of nurses into social care

This recorded webinar (recorded 09.07.20)  gives you the chance to hear directly from the leaders of systems to learn about their experience of nurse deployment. Find out what they've done in their system to support the deployment of the nursing workforce into social care, the outputs and outcomes of their approach and the barriers they faced and how they overcame them.

Watch the webinar  


Get in touch, looking for nursing staff and do not have a local contact?

Please email us at Include as much information as you can to enable us to put you in touch with the right person. 

We're continuing to develop this work with the Department of Health and Social Care and other stakeholders. As soon as more information is available, we will update this page. Page last updated 15 July 2020.