The new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revalidation process for nurses and midwives needs to be tightened in the interests of public safety, Unite, the largest union in the country, has warned.
The NMC is due to discuss the proposed April 2016 introduction of revalidation on Thursday (8 October), but Unite, which represents 25,000 nurses, said that the checking of a sample of the 680,000 NMC registrants needs to be strengthened.
The new process, including the 450 hours of nursing practice each year, is designed to improve public confidence in the profession, in the wake of the Mid-Staffs scandal when it was discovered that some nurses were not following NMC guidelines.
The NMC does not have the resources to check all of the evidence submitted by the registrants, but is proposing to identify a sample that it may check with the ‘confirmer’, who may or may not be the line manager, that the revalidation paperwork is correct.
However, Unite wants the NMC to commit to ‘will’ check the evidence and not say it ‘may’ check.
Unite lead professional officer, Obi Amadi said: “The new revalidation process stems from the Mid-Staffs scandal and is aimed to ensure that registrants are up to date and remain fit to practise and boost public confidence in health and social care.
“We appreciate that the NMC does not have the resources to check all the registrants’ evidence, but when it does follow-up on a random sample, we want them to definitely check all the evidence with the confirmer or the professional who carried out the registrant’s reflective discussion.
“The reflective discussion is such a key part of the process; to ignore this makes no sense.
“If this does not happen, we risk slipping back to something akin to the previous system of PREP when registrants were able to self-validate by ticking the appropriate boxes to say they were ‘fit to practice’.
“If the NMC council decision on Thursday is to go ahead with its introduction, we urge them to make the revalidation process and verification as robust as possible, given the resources available.”
From next April, it is proposed that all registrants will have to revalidate every three years to remain on the NMC register, a compulsory requirement if they wish to maintain registration to work in health and social care.
Obi Amadi added: “However, we are pleased that the NMC is using a phased approach and will be constantly evaluating the process and fine tuning it over the next three years, ironing out any issues, on their way to achieving a world class system.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.