Former nurses and midwives who left the register up to five years ago will be invited to rejoin during the coronavirus outbreak, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced in a joint statement with other health bodies.
The NMC will also register overseas nurses and midwives who have completed all parts of the registration process except the final clinical examination, the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
It said in a statement: ‘It is clear that we will need more people to support the health and social care workforce who are working under unprecedented pressure.’
‘We have therefore identified two additional groups of people who the NMC will invite to join the Covid-19 temporary register,’ it added.
It will now write to overseas qualified nurses and midwives waiting to take their OSCE, and nurses and midwives who left the register within the last four or five years.
It added that it is still considering inviting nursing students in their final months to join the temporary register, depending on the severity and duration of the outbreak.
The changes to its registration requirements come as figures released today show 33,718 have tested positive for Covid-10 in the UK, while 2,921 have died.
Last month, the regulator announced that nurses and midwives who left the register within the last three years can temporarily rejoin.
It has also said that student nurses and midwives can complete the last six months of their programme as a paid clinical placement.
NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said that since the Covid-19 temporary register came into force last week, 8,000 nurses and midwives have signed up, as of today.
She continued: ‘But as the pandemic continues to escalate and intensify, it’s clear we will need even more people to join in the efforts against Covid-19, to make sure the NHS and social care can keep on providing care for people whatever their needs are.
‘Early next week, we will be writing to around 1,800 skilled nurses and midwives who have trained overseas,’ she added.
‘Later next week, we will also be writing to 40,000 experienced former nurses and midwives who voluntarily left their professions within the last four and five years.’
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The response has been amazing so far, with thousands coming forward to help us overcome the biggest challenge our NHS has ever faced. Now even more nurses, midwives and doctors will have the opportunity to sign up and be supported to return.’