Revalidation for 692,000 nurses and midwives in the UK has come into force in what has been hailed as “the most significant regulatory change” in the regulator’s history.
It has been introduced to drive up quality of care and patient safety.
The change means all of the nurses and midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council must provide regular evidence that they can deliver safe, effective and professional care.
The NMC’s chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said revalidation was “the most significant regulatory change in our history.”
It was recommended by Sir Robert Francis QC in his 2013 report into the failings at the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Smith said: “Of the thousands of nurses and midwives who have already gone through the system, many have told us they believe it will deliver real benefits in raising standards and protecting the public as well as improving their professional practice.”
Nurses and midwives will go through the process as their registration comes up with renewal over the next three years.
They have to do 35 hours of continuing professional development as part of the process and must submit reflective accounts and five pieces of practice-related feedback.
They need to have completed 450 practice hours in the three years since their last registration.
It has won support from stakeholders including the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Janet Davies.
She said: “Improving patient care requires a clear and well implemented system to ensure all staff are up to date and revalidation is an important step towards that.”
Some nurses said they were concerned about the amount of time they needed to complete the revalidation process.
Davies called for support for nurses and midwives to compete the process.
She said: “It’s important that all staff who complete the process can get the time and supervision needed to make this vision a reality.”
The RCN would be working with the NMC, employers and nurses to ensure they get the support they need, she pledged.
The NMC has issued guidance in completing the process.