NMC publishes analysis of its Covid-19 temporary register

Published on 10 September 2020

See the latest insight from our Covid-19 temporary register

Today we have published an analysis of our Covid-19 temporary register, highlighting the incredible contributions of those on it in supporting people using health and care services and the wider workforce throughout the pandemic.

The analysis – taken from data and survey responses of those on our temporary register as of 2 July 2020 - highlighted many interesting findings, including the fact that nearly 50 percent of the returning professionals on our temporary register have indicated they would consider re-joining our permanent register.  

We launched the temporary register in March 2020, so that former or overseas trained nursing and midwifery professionals with invaluable skills and experience could get involved in the UK response to Covid-19.

The response has been immense, with over 14,243 people on the temporary register at the time of our analysis, of whom 66 percent had left our permanent register in the last 3 years, 16 percent had left in the last 3 to 5 years and 18 percent were overseas trained professionals.

When the temporary register was established, our priority was to expand the nursing and midwifery workforce so that as many people as possible would be available to deal with the anticipated short term pressures on the NHS and social care. But thanks to the extraordinary effort of everyone working across the health and care systems in all four countries of the UK, these were less than expected.  

We are now considering how we can use the momentum from our temporary register to continue to support the growth of the nursing and midwifery workforce, as we move towards winter.

Our analysis of the temporary register has identified a few key opportunities, including that nearly half of the returning professionals would consider re-joining our permanent register.   

Additionally, now that we have been able to safely reopen our test centres, many of the overseas qualified professionals who had been on our temporary register are in the process of completing their applications to join our permanent register.

Other findings of the analysis included:

  • Of the former professionals who left our permanent register in the last 3 years, just under 14 percent had started practising while on the temporary register; and less than 6 percent of people who left between four and five years ago had started practising.
  • Almost all overseas applicants (92 percent) had started practising by the time they responded to the survey – likely as many were already working in a ‘pre-registration’ capacity while waiting to undertake their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to join our permanent register.
  • Demographic characteristics of the groups varied significantly:
    • Overseas qualified professionals included more people from Asian or Black ethnic groups and more people under 40
    • Returning professionals were older and mainly white, with more people declaring a disability

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC, said:

“I’m thankful to everyone who came forward so quickly to join our temporary Covid-19 register so care and support could be provided for people at a time when it was needed most.

“The response of the health and social care system to Covid-19 was phenomenal and nursing and midwifery professionals played such an important part which meant the need for our temporary registrants was not as great as originally anticipated.

“However, it’s clear we still have a long road ahead of us to sustain the numbers of nursing and midwifery professionals we need over the coming months so people can experience good, quality care as we cautiously recover from the crisis phase of the pandemic.

“We will keep working with our partners in health and social care across all four countries of the UK so that those on our temporary register can continue to contribute if they want to.”


Further background

  1. Link to the report: www.nmc.org.uk/covid19-register-analysis 
  2. Link to information about the temporary register: www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/temporary-registration

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