Starting A Nursing Agency

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To set up and run a nursing agency in the UK you do not need to be a nurse or come from a medical background. The three main criteria for success are; your desire to be your own boss; having a compassion for patients; and having a clear understanding of the services you will be providing. And there is an undoubted need for this service because of the demand for nursing-care agency staff to residential nursing homes and NHS hospitals.

Why is there such demand for nursing staff?

In the UK, we have an ageing population, which has resulted in inadequate staffing levels for many hospitals and care homes. Most of us are living longer, yet often with long-term medical conditions and disabilities, resulting in an ever-greater need for care homes. As the NHS struggles to meet the increased demand on its services, often with less money than it has had in the past, this has resulted in shortened lengths of stay and bed capacity, which in turn is leading to more and more people being looked after in care homes, often leading to residents entering care homes with more complex needs than ever before.

It is therefore ever more important for care providers to provide the highest quality of care. To succeed in their businesses, providers need to meet the needs of the home, and ensure that residents are well cared for. Thus, a nursing agency really is becoming an essential service in its own right. There will be an increasing need to provide staff for hospitals, residential homes, nursing homes and other health organizations in order to fill the various temporary or permanent healthcare support, care assistance and nursing roles. This makes starting a nursing agency quite a lucrative business opportunity.

Licensing a nursing agency

As far as placing staff in nursing and residential homes or hospitals in England is concerned, you do not need a license in the UK to operate your nursing agency. But if you intend to provide domiciliary care in individual homes you will need to apply for registration with the Care Quality Commission.


Care staff will need to be trained, or have relevant training. For example, the Care Certificate provides a framework for good practice; for induction of staff across health and in social care settings. The Care Certificate underwent an independent review in February 2013. Known as The Cavendish Review, it was proposed that all health care assistants and social care support staff undergo the same basic training that already exists in the system, based on latest best practice.

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