Emergency laws announced by the government will allow ‘fit, proper and suitably experienced’ student and retired nurses to start working.
Health regulators will be given powers to temporarily register healthcare professionals during the Covid-19 outbreak, under the Coronavirus Bill, which was presented to the House of Commons yesterday.
It comes as the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced steps to enable former nurses and midwives, and student nurses and midwives, to undertake paid work to help tackle the virus.
The bill is expected to be approved by parliament on Monday.
Previously, former nurses who wished to rejoin the register would have to complete either an NMC-approved return to practice programme or a test of competence.
But the NMC has relaxed requirements in order to expand the nursing workforce to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
As of Thursday, there are 3,269 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK and 144 patients have died.
Staff registered under the laws – which will be time-limited to two years – may have an annotation in the register showing that they have joined under this legislation.
The NMC still have the powers to revoke registration and the registration will cease if coronavirus is no longer classed as an ‘emergency’.
All those brought in under these new powers will not have to pay a registration fee.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair warned that nursing students must receive the proper support and payment.
She said: ‘We have been clear that students in the last six months of their degree must be free to choose to work.
‘They must also be supported and supervised during their placements, and be properly remunerated,’ she added.