The temporary nursing register introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will close at the end of March 2024, it has been confirmed.
In providing the update this week, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said its focus would now turn to supporting nurses and midwives who wanted to continue practising after March 2024 to join the permanent register.
The NMC’s temporary register was launched in spring 2020 to help support workforce gaps amid the Covid-19 crisis. It was open to those who had recently left the register, as well as some nurses and midwives from overseas.
As of March 2022, the nursing regulator stopped accepting new people onto the temporary register, when the relevant legislation expired.
And in September 2022, the government announced plans to keep it open for a further two years.
Earlier this year, the NMC made changes to who was eligible to remain on the temporary register, to ensure staff had up to date skills and knowledge.
With the temporary register now set to close at the end of March 2024, those on the register will no longer be able to practise, unless they transition to the NMC’s permanent register.
As of 13 September 2023, there were 1,446 nursing and midwifery professionals with temporary registration. The NMC said it would be writing to those impacted in the coming weeks with information on ‘next steps’.
Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: ‘We remain incredibly proud of the nurses and midwives who joined the Covid-19 temporary register.
‘The height of the pandemic was a frightening time for us all, but thousands of professionals stepped forward to help support essential health and care services.
‘They have made a vital difference to people’s lives and we’re immensely grateful for their contribution, particularly in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.’
She added: ‘Professionals will not be able to practise with temporary registration after the end of March 2024.
‘We’ll be writing to everyone on the temporary register shortly to advise them of next steps.
‘We’ll also use the next six months to support those who wish to continue practising to transition to our permanent register.’