The NMC is making some operational changes during the Covid-19 pandemic, to prioritise its core regulatory functions and ensure it continues to regulate nurses, midwives and nursing associates effectively.
Like everyone else, nurses, midwives and nursing associates will be affected by the virus and may be ill, have to self-isolate or care for others. The NMC are therefore anticipating a reduction in capacity and are also following government guidance to support NMC colleagues to work at home as far as possible, and minimise non-essential travel for the people who work with us.
Many of the NMC’s registrants will be heavily involved in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and maintaining vital health and social care services under immense pressure. The NMC said it needs to make sure that they are minimising burdens on busy professionals.
The NMC’s priorities in these unprecedented circumstances are:
- maintaining our important role in protecting the public and promoting public confidence in nursing and midwifery
- ensuring we continue to register the right people swiftly – the health and social care system needs nurses, midwives and nursing associates more than ever now
- playing our part in the actions needed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic
- looking after our colleagues to make sure people are safe and we can continue to operate effectively.
Operational changes as a result of coronavirus
Registration and revalidation
Emergency Covid-19 temporary register
The government is working on emergency legislation that allows us to create an emergency Covid-19 temporary register, separate to our permanent register. Further information about this will be made available very shortly. Find out more about the emergency Covid-19 temporary register.
We are continuing as normal with applications to join and re-join the register. Most customers shouldn’t notice any interruption to our services, but with more NMC staff working from home than usual, there may be minor delays to our processing, which we will keep to a minimum.
We are continuing to process applications from overseas applicants wishing to join our register. We are working with our OSCE test delivery partners to ensure the test centres remain open and measures are put in place to keep staff and candidates safe. Currently all three of our test centres have capacity to take new bookings and accommodate resits.
Find out more about Test of Competence changes
Test of Competence review
We continue to work closely with our design and delivery partners to launch our new Test of Competence in the summer and we are currently on track. However we have cancelled our remaining engagement events and webinars.
Find out more about the Test of Competence review.
From this month we are extending the revalidation period for current registered nurses. This means they will each have an additional three months from their current revalidation application date to complete their application. This is as flexible as we can be under our current legislation, so we are seeking further flexibility from the government for the future. We will give an update on this soon.
The next report on the data from our register was scheduled for May and has now been postponed until further notice. We will keep responding to individual data requests from key stakeholders as a matter of priority.
For further information about registration and revalidation, please contact UKenquiries@nmc-uk.org.
Education and standards
Quality assurance of education
We are continuing our quality assurance of education. This includes approval visits where education institutions have not deferred their visit. These events are being done remotely.
We also continue to work with institutions to ensure they continue to meet our standards.
Implementation of our new standards
During this period we will continue to provide information, and develop resources for those education institutions and stakeholders who will be implementing our new standards.
We will continue to work on the development of our post-registration standards internally. Where appropriate we will liaise with stakeholders remotely, and continue to work on the evidence that underpins this work. When the emergency situation is lifted our engagement with stakeholders will resume to ensure their views are considered fully.
Fitness to practise
We have identified four essential fitness to practise services that we must continue to deliver:
- Logging and risk assessing any new referrals, and any new information on existing referrals
- Interim order applications and review hearings
- Substantive order review hearings
- High Court or Court of Sessions interim order extension applications.
All other face-to-face hearings are being postponed and no new ones will be scheduled until further notice – this allows us to prioritise interim order and substantive order reviews.
We are considering arrangements to progress as many cases as possible by meetings (hearings on the papers) or by virtual hearings. We will communicate arrangements directly to the people involved in individual cases.
All other casework will continue to the best of our ability in these difficult circumstances. We are changing our approach to seeking information from employers – we will only ask them for information if it is essential for immediate risk management. This means that we may not be able to progress some cases for the time being – if this happens we will communicate with those involved and support them as best we can.
Our Employer Link Service has postponed all planned learning sessions (stakeholder meetings will continue remotely). Meanwhile all planned public support service meetings will go ahead but will happen remotely rather than face-to-face.
If you are currently involved in a fitness to practise case and would like further clarification, please contact your named case officer.
Employers seeking more information should please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have temporarily suspended all recruitment to the NMC, to help ensure we focus all available resources on delivering our core regulatory work effectively. All job adverts and interviews are postponed until further notice, and our recruitment team will be in touch with current applicants with more information.
Our contact centre will remain open to answer calls and emails from 08:00–17:45 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
To help protect people from the spread of coronavirus, our office buildings will be closed to visitors until further notice.
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