A petition to protect the nurse title in UK law so only registered nurses can use it closes today, but the workforce academic behind it has assured nursing colleagues the campaign continues.
It has not reached the 100,000 signatories needed to be considered for a debate in Parliament by the 14 December deadline. However, it has drawn significant support with over 33,000 signatures as well as backing from high-profile names such as chief nursing officer for England Ruth May.
Professor Alison Leary, who is behind the petition, told Nursing in Practice that supporters of the campaign will simply return to ‘Plan A’. It is still possible for the nurse title to be protected through regulatory form and the campaign has had ‘incredible support’ from the NMC, she said.
Although MPs last month voted 304 to 240 against an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to protect the nurse title in UK law, the Government said in July in response to the petition that it will consider the issue as part of the ongoing review into professional regulation.
Professor Leary continued: ‘It was alluded to by minister of state for health Edward Argar when the amendment was voted against that regulatory reform was on the horizon, and it would be included in the regulatory reform and they wouldn’t object to it then. It’s very much still a live issue.’
On Twitter today, she also assured nurses that the campaign has ‘made a lot of progress’ and is still working with ‘parliamentarians, regulators and nurse leaders who are very supportive’.
The ‘nurse’ title is not currently protected, unlike medical doctor, midwife, paramedic and physiotherapist. This means anyone can call themselves a nurse without needing qualifications or experience, or if they have been struck off the register.