Nurses have been asked to sign waivers that exempt them, or their employer, from adhering to the Government’s advice in order to fulfil their role during the coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the RCN have reported the practice, which has emerged in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The RCN stated on their website: ‘We do not support the use of these documents in any situation and urges all health and care staff to follow the Government’s advice.’
They added: ‘We expect all employers to undertake individual risk assessments for any staff within vulnerable groups and to make alternative arrangements, including the option of redeployment, to support individuals to abide by the Government advice.’
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) emphasised that nurses needed to be supported in their roles.
In their recently published Covid-19 advice for nurses working during the coronavirus epidemic they said: ‘It’s also important that you’re supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing. Your employer is there to help by managing resources effectively and dealing with risk so that that the quality of care or service you provide for people can be maintained.’
The NMC also highlighted the continued need for the adherence to the nurse and midwives code during the Covid-19 outbreak which involves:
· Acting in the best interests of people at all times within the limits of your knowledge and competence.
· Keeping to and promoting recommended practice and guidance in relation to controlling and preventing infection.
· As well as your own safety, taking account of the safety of others and the availability of other options for providing care.
The RCN urges any nurse who has been asked to sign a waiver to contact them directly on 0345 772 6100. Further advice from the RCN can be found on their Covid-19 response page.
The RCN have been approached for comment.