Council approve revised Code

3 December 2014

Today the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) governing Council approved a revised Code, which all UK nurses and midwives follow when they practise. It will be published in January and will replace the existing version of the Code at the end of March. 

The NMC exists to protect the public. The Code sets out what all nurses and midwives in the UK are expected to do in order to justify the trust that patients and the public place in them as registered professionals. 

The revised Code will be effective from 31 March 2014. 

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“The NMC exists to protect the public, and the Code is at the heart of all we do. It clearly reflects the expectations and needs of people who receive care from nurses and midwives.

“The Code is a vital set of principles which detail the professional standards for nurses and midwives. Whenever a nurse or midwife joins the NMC’s register, or renews their registration, they are committing to upholding these standards. This shared commitment to a common set of standards is at the heart of what it means to be a professional.

“The revised Code will resonate with the many dedicated and skilled nurses and midwives on the NMC’s register who demonstrate these principles in their daily practice.”

Major changes in the revised Code will include: 

  • A new title: The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives
  • A new structure, which is based around four themes which signify what professional nursing and midwifery practice looks like: it is safe, it is effective, it puts the interests of patients and service users first and it promotes trust through professionalism.
  • A section about caring for people in an emergency.
  • A section about candour.
  • A section about revalidation and continuous professional development.
  • A section about administration and prescription of medicines.
  • An emphasised section on raising concerns.
  • An emphasised section on delegation.

Jackie Smith continued: 

“A lot has happened since 2008, when the current version of the Code was launched, including the publication of the seminal Francis Inquiry report. The delivery of healthcare and expectations of patients in the UK has changed considerably over the intervening six years, which is reflected in this version of the Code.”



Notes for editors

1.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public. We do this by ensuring that only those who meet our requirements are allowed to practise as a nurse or midwife in the UK. We take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise.

2.   For media enquiries, please contact Ann Brown or Hannah Schraer at or on 020 7681 5649/5936.