The health sector of Britain’s largest union, Unite is urging the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to shelve reported plans to delay the implementation of revalidation for nurses and midwives in England for up to two years.
The revalidation process, through the Nursing and Midwifery Council, was a key recommendation of Sir Robert Francis’ report following his inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and was due to be implemented from April 2016.
In a letter to the health secretary, Unite national officers for health, Barrie Brown and Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe point to reports in the Nursing Times and warn patient safety could be compromised by a delay: “As part of your response to the report you made a commitment to supporting nurse revalidation. It is therefore a great concern that you appear to be withdrawing from this promise and continuing to place financial concerns above those of patient safety.
“We believe that the NHS organisations your department suggests should not be under pressure to implement revalidation, are those that the Francis Report highlights should implement it.”
The letter then goes to say delay could have an impact on recruitment and retention: “We have a UK wide system of healthcare regulation and we consider that any moves by the Department of Health in England to interfere with regulatory processes which apply to all four UK countries is unacceptable and compromises patient safety.
“Proposing that nurses and midwives who work in certain organisations will not need to be supported by them to meet requirements that are laid out in their code not only puts them in the position of breaching their code but could affect recruitment and retention. Why would nurses and midwives want to work in an organisation that cannot support their professionalism?”
Branding a proposed delay as ill thought out and ‘knee jerk’ the letter concludes: “We would suggest therefore that this proposal to delay implementation of revalidation is ill thought out and is a knee jerk reaction to a few organisations that have expressed concern borne perhaps out of ignorance of the process.
“We therefore request that any plans to delay the implementation of revalidation are shelved and instead there is a focus on ensuring that organisations are in a position to go ahead as planned.”
For a full copy of the letter please email Alex Flynn.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.