Ministers are considering whether to require aspiring nurses to complete a year’s caring experience before they are accepted onto a degree course.

In his the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report, published last month, Robert Francis QC recommended that student nurses spend at least three months working on direct care of patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.

He said it should be a “pre-condition for continuation in nurse training” and could include work as a healthcare assistant.

HSJ sister title Nursing Times has learnt the government is considering announcing plans to pilot such as scheme as part of its formal response to the Francis report, which is expected to be published later today.

However, ministers are believed to want to go further than Mr Francis and instead favour a period of at least one year.

It is not clear whether work as an HCA would count.

Such a proposal is likely to receive a mixed response from the profession if it makes the final version of the government’s response to the Francis report, potentially sparking concerns about its impact on recruitment.

Another measure expected to be announced is that hospitals and other healthcare providers, such as GP practices, will be subject to a statutory duty of candour.

Among the other topics likely to be covered by the response are HCA regulation, supernumerary status for ward managers, minimum nurse staffing levels and nursing older patients.