Update on industrial action

Read our update

We’re aware that industrial action, including strike action, is planned over the coming weeks and months across a number of areas in the United Kingdom.

The information below sets out our position on this matter.

Like many other professions, nurses, midwives and nursing associates have the right to take part in lawful industrial action, including strike action.

For those on our register taking part in such action, the standards and behaviours set out in the Code continue to apply.

During industrial action, employers of health and care services have an important role to play in planning and preparing for how people’s individual needs can be responded to and their continuity of care maintained.

For nursing and midwifery professionals not taking part in industrial action, we recognise that they may need to use their professional judgment to assess risk and find the best way to provide care for patients and people who use services.

Our regulatory standards continue to apply in all situations and we hope they can support professionals by highlighting the need to work with colleagues to keep patients and people safe, to practise in line with the best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their scope of practice.

As the independent professional regulator, we remain in close dialogue with our key partners and will continue to monitor developments carefully.

Need further information?

Check out our frequently asked questions below.

1. Do nurses, midwives and nursing associates have the right to take part in industrial action, including strike action?

Yes. They have a right to take part in lawful industrial action, including strike action.

2. Is it ok for people to take part in industrial action, including strike action?

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates have the right to take part in any such action if they wish.

To help minimise disruption to the care of patients and people using services, we’d expect employers to consider the impact of strike action at an individual level, together with putting in place any supportive measures that are appropriate.

3. If a nurse, midwife or nursing associate makes a mistake while working in an environment where industrial action, including strike action, is taking place, would the NMC take action against them?

Whenever concerns are raised with us about individuals, we will always consider these carefully, making sure we take into account the context in which mistakes have occurred.

4. How will you assess how registered professionals have made risk assessments and used their professional judgment appropriately?

As we have outlined, the Code continues to apply in all situations. Section 10 explains what nurses, midwives and nursing associates must do to keep clear and accurate records relevant to their practice.

5. Is the Code incompatible with industrial action, including strike action?

The Code continues to apply in the event of industrial action, including strike action. All nurses, midwives and nursing associates on our register have a duty to uphold the professional standards and behaviours as set out in the Code.

6. What happens if industrial action, including strike action, affects students?

In these circumstances, we expect Approved Education Institutions (AEIs) to assess risks to the learning environment and student learning, and to report to us if this has been affected and how they are mitigating this impact.

7. I’ve noticed there is already an NMC statement on this issue from 2014. What’s changed?

Yes, that’s right – you can read it here.

The key principles from the 2014 statement remain the same but we have updated and expanded it to clarify some of the questions we are aware people will have.


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