More than 2,000 respond to review of post-registration nursing standards as NMC consultation ends

Published on 03 August 2021

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Our consultation, Building on ambitions for community and public health nursing, sought views on proposed new standards of proficiency for the future of specialist community and public health nursing. It has now closed after receiving a total of 2,362 responses from a huge range of people - including professionals, our partners, employers, educators, students and the public - across all four countries of the UK.

The extended consultation ran for more than 16 busy weeks and involved more than 60 virtual events attended by hundreds of people. Through it, we sought views on three sets of draft post-registration standards: those for specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN), those for specialist practice qualification (SPQs) and the associated programme standards.

At the heart of these proposals is a suite of new standards that better reflect the modern work that many professionals are already doing – including delivering complex clinical care for people in their own home or local community, leading and managing teams, shaping local services and prioritising public health and wellbeing – now and for the future.

Commenting on the closing of the consultation and a look ahead to next steps, Professor Geraldine Walters CBE, our Executive Director of Professional Practice, said:

“This is such an important piece of work that we know has generated a great deal of public discussion and debate, from many different perspectives. To see such high volumes of direct response from so many different people via our consultation process is absolutely fantastic.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their contributions – especially all the practising community and public health nurses and post registration students – who have given up their precious time during these recent months, and whose contributions will be fundamental in shaping the next steps.

“We now embark on a period of intense work to ensure all the feedback we’ve received gets the analysis and scrutiny it deserves. So while it’s too soon to speculate on the final recommendations, what I do know is the regulatory standards we ultimately take to Council will be the best they can be - supporting professionals to deliver highly skilled and expert care that improves people’s health well into the future - because of people’s collaboration in this process.”

Over the next few months teams of individuals - including practising professionals, post registration students and educators - from across the health and social care sectors of the four nations will work alongside NMC colleagues to make final recommendations on changes to the draft post-registration standards.

These recommendations will then be considered by the post registration steering group, made up of partners from across the UK before our governing Council reviews the standards and a decision on their adoption at a public meeting.

Further information

  • Further background information is available via our webpage here.
  • Breakdown of volume of consultation responses as follows:

    • The professional survey received 1889 responses from individuals and organisations.

    • In addition, a survey for members of the public and people who use services received 462 responses.

    • An easy read version of the survey received 11 responses.

  • Specialist Community Public Health registered nurses and midwives (SCPHN) can join the SCPHN part of our register by taking an approved SCPHN programme and by achieving our SCPHN standards of proficiency. These standards of proficiency define the principles of practising as a specialist community public health nurse. Fields of practice within the SCPHN part of the register include health visitors (HV), school nurses (SN), occupational health nurses (OHN).
  • Specialist Practice Qualifications (SPQs) are optional recordable qualifications that meet our standards but do not lead to admission to a part of the register or any protected title and function. More information can be found here.


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