NMC sets out plans to move towards a ‘new normal’

Published on 25 June 2020

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has proposed a series of changes to help support nursing and midwifery students and professionals as the UK cautiously transitions to a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NMC is embarking on a gradual introduction of changes to help the nursing and midwifery workforce and wider health and care systems during this time of transition.  

These changes, to be reviewed by the NMC’s Governing Council next week, focus on enabling a more stable learning environment for nursing and midwifery students - along with the restarting of those fitness to practise hearings that were previously paused due to the pandemic.

Key changes proposed include:

  • A number of the emergency standards of education will be withdrawn by the end of September 2020. Some of the emergency standards will be retained to allow flexibility during the next phase of the pandemic, to provide a more stable learning environment for students in all years, and to ensure current final year students can complete their courses and become fully registered professionals as they planned.
  • Extending the deadline for Approved Education Institutions to implement the NMC’s new Future Midwife Standards by one year, from September 2021 to September 2022, in order to provide any additional time that may be needed to co-create new curriculums.
  • Reviewing and restarting the NMC’s fitness to practise casework that had been paused during the emergency period, including safely reintroducing physical hearings from September 2020.

These changes are the first steps forward for the NMC in supporting nursing and midwifery students and professionals to provide the best and safest care possible as they adjust to a new normal.

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

“The pandemic has had a profound impact on how care and support for people is provided across all health and care settings.  It has also deeply affected the working lives of the professionals on our register and disrupted the education of nursing and midwifery students across the UK. 

“I would like to thank all the nurses, midwives, nursing associates and the nursing and midwifery students who have coped with these extraordinary circumstances and made such an amazing contribution to the UK’s Covid-19 response. 

 “As we all move cautiously and collaboratively from pandemic crisis to recovery, the time is right to take steps to help ensure the education and training of the next generation of nursing and midwifery professionals can transition to a new normal.

“At the NMC, we’re now also able to refocus our attention on some of our core regulatory activities - including the resumption of some substantive fitness to practise hearings in person in the safest possible way.

“Over the coming weeks and months we will be reviewing even more of our work as we continue to play our part in supporting the UK’s health and care workforce on the road to recovery.”


Further background

  1. Our statement on the principles for nursing and midwifery students during the next phase of the phase of the Covid-19 pandemic can be read here.
  2. Thursday 2 July Open Council meeting papers are available here.
  3. Updated information about our Fitness to Practise (FtP) hearings during Covid-19 can be read here.

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