We've made operational changes during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure we continue to regulate nurses, midwives and nursing associates effectively.
Read on for details of these changes, including updates to revalidation and our fitness to practise proceedings.
Our office buildings are closed to visitors until further notice.
We can’t accept fitness to practise referrals while our offices remain closed, so please use our online referral forms instead. For any other correspondence, please contact us by email rather than post.
Our contact centre remains open to answer calls and emails from 08:00–17:45, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
If you have a question about something related to coronavirus, please read our FAQs before contacting us.
Complaints and information requests
There may be a delay in responding to your complaint or information request during this time. We are sorry for this and will keep you fully updated about revised timeframes for our responses.
Registration and revalidation
Emergency Covid-19 temporary register
The government passed emergency legislation that has allowed us to create an emergency Covid-19 temporary register, separate to our permanent register.
Find out more about the emergency Covid-19 temporary register.
We have extended the revalidation period for current registered nurses and midwives. This means they each have an additional three months from their revalidation application date to complete their application. This includes those with registration due to expire in March, April and May.
This was as flexible we could be under our legislation, so we spent time seeking further flexibility from the government. We now have rule changes in place that allow this additional flexibility, and we will clarify what this means for the professionals on our register as soon as possible.
We are continuing as normal with applications to join and re-join the register. Most customers shouldn’t notice any interruption to our services, but with NMC staff working from home, there may be minor delays to our processing, which we will keep to a minimum.
Registration appeals have been postponed for the time being, and we’re keeping in close contact with all appellants whose appeals are affected. Going forward, changes to our rules mean we’ll be able hold hearings remotely during the emergency period. In the meantime, we’ve been able to progress a number of cases where the NMC does not contest the appeal, and five appellants have so far been able to come onto the register through this process.
We are continuing to process applications from overseas applicants wishing to join our register. Following the latest advice from the UK Government, all OSCE tests have been suspended until further notice. Please be assured we are doing everything we can to support candidates during this time.
Check our Covid-19: Information for overseas candidates page for the latest information.
Test of Competence review
We are reviewing the timetable for the new test of competence, which is likely to be postponed due to the current circumstances. Find out more about the Test of Competence review.
The next report on the data from our register was scheduled for May and has now been postponed until further notice. We will keep responding to individual data requests from key stakeholders as a matter of priority.
For further information about registration and revalidation, please contact UKenquiries@nmc-uk.org.
Fitness to practise
We identified four essential fitness to practise services that we must continue to deliver:
1. Logging and risk assessing any new referrals, and any new information on existing referrals
2. Interim order applications and review hearings
3. Substantive order review hearings
4. High Court or Court of Sessions interim order extension applications.
All other hearings have been postponed until the end of June and no new ones will be scheduled until further notice – this allows us to prioritise interim order and substantive order review hearings.
Our rules have now changed to make clear that we can hold hearings and meetings (hearings on the papers) virtually, using video conferencing technology. All interim order and substantive order review hearings are being held virtually.
We can now send people the details of hearings using email (our old rules required us to do this by registered post), so we are now using email to send people involved in individual cases the details for their virtual hearing.
The new rules give us more flexibility in how many members our panels need, and whether there needs to be a nurse, midwife or nursing associate on the panel. We’ve produced guidance on how we’ll use this and other powers under our new rules.
All other casework will continue to the best of our ability in these difficult circumstances. We have changed our approach to seeking information from employers – we are only asking them for information if it is essential for immediate risk management. This means that we may not be able to progress some cases for the time being – if this happens we will communicate with those involved and support them as best we can.
Our Employer Link Service has postponed all planned learning sessions (stakeholder meetings will continue remotely). Meanwhile all planned public support service meetings with individuals will go ahead, but will happen remotely rather than face-to-face.
If you are currently involved in a fitness to practise case and would like further clarification, please contact your named case officer or read our answers to your common questions.
Employers seeking more information should please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education and standards
Quality assurance of education
We are continuing our quality assurance of education. This includes approval visits where education institutions have not deferred their visit. These events are being done remotely. We also continue to work with institutions to ensure they continue to meet our standards.
Implementation of our new standards
During this period we are continuing to provide information and develop resources for those education institutions and stakeholders who will be implementing our new standards.
We are continuing to work on the development of our post-registration standards internally. Where appropriate we will liaise with stakeholders remotely, and continue to work on the evidence that underpins this work. When the emergency situation is lifted our engagement with stakeholders will resume to ensure their views are considered fully.
On 25 March, the Council approved our next five-year strategy, which sets out a clear vision and ambition for change. However, the Council recognised that the current extraordinary circumstances mean our strategy may need to be reviewed in the next six to 12 months.
Therefore we have delayed officially launching our strategy until later in the year. In the meantime, teams across the NMC are looking at how the strategy can inform their work in response to Covid-19.
In addition, Council also approved our new values and behaviours framework, and our new organisational structure, which will be in place from 6 April 2020 to improve the way we work together and help us to deliver our new strategy.
We have temporarily suspended all recruitment to the NMC, to help ensure we focus all available resources on delivering our core regulatory work effectively.
All job adverts and interviews are postponed until further notice, and our recruitment team will be in touch with current applicants with more information.