Prime minister David Cameron has rebuffed opposition from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and defended plans to make student nurses work as health care assistants in the first year of their training.
He believes the scheme will help to improve the level of care patients receive has well as bolster a nurse's learning.
However, the RCN has said the ides is "stupid" because nurses are already over stretched due to staff shortages.
Indeed, a survey conducted by the college found that 71 per cent of 2,000 nurses questioned believe the move could be a bad idea due to low staffing levels.
"It is going to be controversial, but in the end the sort of health service we want is not just about making sure we have the facts and the figures…it's about the level of care, so when our elderly relatives go in there, we know they are going to get a really good quality of care," Cameron told the BBC.
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