NMC launches consultation on future use of emergency powers

Published on 04 November 2020

Have your say by 15 January 2021

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today launched a consultation seeking views from the public, professionals and health and care sector partners on its future use of powers, which it was granted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The consultation follows powers given to the NMC by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) earlier this year. The changes increase the flexibility of the NMC’s fitness to practise and registration and revalidation processes.

The NMC’s consultation will run from 4 November 2020 to 15 January 2021 and focuses on the following key areas:

  • The NMC’s use of virtual meetings and hearings
  • Public access to hearings
  • The number of people on a hearing panel
  • The NMC’s use of email to communicate notices of a hearing, and
  • The NMC’s use of extensions for revalidation and fee payment

The emergency rules were approved by the NMC’s Council on 25 March 2020 and made changes to two main areas of work to help the NMC to continue to operate effectively during Covid-19: fitness to practise and registration appeals, and revalidation and fee payment.

Recognising the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, the Department of Health and Social Care amended the rules, which came into effect on 31 August 2020, and the sunset clause was removed meaning that the rules have no end date.

The consultation is available in English, Welsh and there is also an easy read version. Contributors can submit their response using the online survey or email consultations@nmc-uk.org.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Professional Regulation at the NMC, said:

“At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic we had to rapidly adapt to ensure our core regulatory work could continue. During this initial period, we were unable to undertake a full consultation with our stakeholders and the public.

“But the impacts of Covid-19 will be long-term, and there are also some new ways of working we’ll want to keep in place. So we now want to consult on how our new powers are used in the future, listening to the public, professionals, and the wider health and care sector.

“We remain committed to using these new powers in a proportionate way that supports our registrants and keeps people safe. We encourage everyone who wants to have their say to respond.”


Notes to editors

The NMC Council approved the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Emergency Procedures) (Amendment) Rules 2020 Order of Council 2020 on 25 March 2020.

The Department of Health and Social Care subsequently proposed changes to the rules which were approved by the Council in July 2020 and the legislation took effect from 31 August 2020.

The NMC consultation sets out how the NMC proposes to use these new powers going forwards.

The consultation does not cover the temporary registration processes for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. This is because these processes are covered by the Coronavirus Act 2020, and not by the new rules, and these changes are not permanent, as the temporary register will close when the emergency is declared to be over.

The NMC’s 2020-2025 strategy is available to read.

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