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NMC to consult on emergency Covid powers

Nurses


The NMC is seeking views from professionals, the public and the health and care sector on its future use of powers granted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The consultation comes after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) granted the NMC powers in March, which increased flexibility around fitness to practise, registration and revalidation.

With the powers, the NMC has temporarily registered upwards of 13,000 former or overseas nurses and midwives, either working or on standby. It also extended revalidation periods, and postponed fitness to practise hearings or held them virtually.

NMC director of professional regulation Emma Broadbent said the NMC will want to keep ‘some new ways of working… in place’ after the Covid pandemic, in a statement published this week.

She continued: ‘At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic we had to rapidly adapt to ensure our core regulatory work could continue. During this initial period, we were unable to undertake a full consultation with our stakeholders and the public.

‘But the impacts of Covid-19 will be long-term. So we now want to consult on how our new powers are used in the future, listening to the public, professionals, and the wider health and care sector,’ she added.

The consultation, which will run until 15 January, will focus on five key areas: the use of virtual meetings and hearings; public access to hearings; the number of people on a hearing panel; the use of email to communicate notices of a hearing; the use of extensions for revalidation and fee payment.

When the emergency powers were first given, a ‘sunset clause’ meant they would be ended once the Covid-19 emergency was over – but this was removed by the DHSC after it recognised the uncertainty around the pandemic.

Contributors can submit their response using an online survey or by emailing consultations@nmc-uk.org. The consultation is available in English and Welsh.