How to Start a Nursing Agency in the UK

Written by noreen wainwright
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How to Start a Nursing Agency in the UK
Mnay nurses choose to work for an agency. (miniature model of nurse image by L. Shat from

Nursing agencies in the UK supply trained nurses, midwives and, in some cases, health care assistants to a variety of health and social care settings. These settings will include the National Health Service and private care homes. Nursing agencies are usually run by a nurse, who may be the sole owner, or in partnership with another person. The main body regulating the operation of nursing agencies in the UK is the Care Quality Commission, and anyone thinking about starting up a nursing agency must visit its website.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance

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    Registration with the Care Quality Commission

  1. 1

    Register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the main regulatory body for health care and social workers in England. Nursing agencies are also regulated by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Regulations 2003. Download an application form from the CQC website and complete it. Prepare a Statement of Purpose, which you must include in a staff handbook, which you must also prepare. Present your Statement of Purpose to the CQC or any interested party who wishes to see it.

    How to Start a Nursing Agency in the UK
    prepaer a staff handbook (sign. reserved for staff image by L. Shat from
  2. 2

    Familiarise yourself with the requirements under health and safety law and employment law. Prepare a contract of employment, with the help of a solicitor. Register your business for Value Added Tax (VAT) purposes. Compile a database of staff; this should include their CRB checks, qualifications and references. Give each member of your agency a staff handbook. Prepare and give out a service user's guide, which should include the contact details of CQC and a copy of the complaints' procedure.

    How to Start a Nursing Agency in the UK
    Each employee should have a contract of employment. (contract 20309 image by pablo from
  3. 3

    Prepare for an annual inspection by CQC by completing an online self-assessment form, called the Annual Quality Assurance Assessment (AQAA), having downloaded the form from the CQC website. Be prepared to complete and return this form within four weeks of notification. Ensure all your staff are of good character and that all trained staff are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, (NMC). Ensure that all your staff attend mandatory training sessions, for example on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA). These training sessions may be provided by local NHS Trusts, and you may be able to purchase it for your employees.

    How to Start a Nursing Agency in the UK
    Your agency will have an annual inspection (computer with infected e-mail and bugs image by patrimonio designs from

Tips and warnings

  • Keep your staff numbers small initially, employing nurses you know to be reliable.
  • You will be dealing with a varied group of employees and service-users, so some problems are inevitable.

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