The NMC are set to adopt emergency powers, given to it in response to the pandemic, to improve its fitness to practise procedures.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) were given powers by the Department of Health and Social Care to enact urgent changes to ensure its core regulatory work could continue during the emergency period.

Since then, the NMC’s emergency powers have been made available to the NMC on a permanent basis.  As a consequence, the NMC’s council is set to approve the use of these powers both during the emergency and once it is over.

The recommendations due to put before the NMC’s council include:

  1. The NMC will not have fitness to practise panels without a nurse, midwife or nursing associate outside of a national emergency;
  2. Power for the NMC to grant limited extensions to revalidation application dates in exceptional circumstances;
  3. The NMC will hold hearings virtually where it is fair and practical to do so;
  4. The NMC will offer audio-only access to our virtual hearings, with a video stream available from our hearings centre;

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“In order to continue to regulate effectively throughout the pandemic we had to adapt how we worked.

“Over the last year, we responded quickly by introducing new emergency arrangements.  Our experience has shown that a number of the changes, such as allowing virtual hearings and revalidation extensions, will have lasting benefits beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It would not be appropriate to use these new powers indefinitely without a proper public consultation and I am grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views with us.

“Following the feedback we’ve received, our council will now consider proposals to use these additional flexibilities beyond the pandemic emergency to help us regulate effectively and continue to support our professionals and keep the public safe.”

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