Public asked to help shape the future of nursing and midwifery

19 May 2014

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) exists to protect the public. One of its key functions is to set out the fundamental standards of conduct, performance and ethics which the UK’s 670,000 nurses and midwives have to comply with. This is done through the NMC Code.

The NMC is currently revising the Code, and is seeking the views of patients, the public, nurses, midwives and other organisations or individuals who may be affected by changes to the Code. 

The revision of the Code has been informed by the recommendations of recent major healthcare reviews including the Francis Report. The revised Code will also align to revalidation, a process which will require all nurses and midwives to regularly confirm to the NMC that they are fit to practise. Revalidation will be introduced at the end of 2015. 

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: 

“The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public, and the Code is central in all that we do. It explains exactly what is expected of all nurses and midwives, no matter how and where they practise or what stage of their careers they are at. 

“The Code states that nurses and midwives must treat the people in their care with kindness, consideration and respect. The overwhelming majority of nurses and midwives do this, often under difficult circumstances. 

“This is a chance to tell us what is important to you, and explain exactly what you expect from the people who care for you.” 

Professor Viv Bennett, Director of Nursing at the Department of Health and Public Health England, said:

“The Code guides the practice of nurses and midwives in delivering consistent, high quality personalised care and in achieving good health outcomes for our population. So it is important it reflects the modern healthcare system and our changing population health needs, while at the same time retaining at its core the essence of good compassionate and caring nursing and midwifery in public health and social care health services. I welcome this opportunity to review the Code and to include the views of service users, and I would encourage you all to engage in this important exercise.”

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England, said: 

“The NMC Code is the standard by which all nurses and midwives should be measured. I am pleased that the NMC is seeking a wide range of views for the revised Code, importantly including the patients and public we are here to serve. This is an important opportunity to help develop compassionate, high quality nursing care for now and the future.” 

Charlotte McArdle, CNO for Northern Ireland, said: 

“The Code outlines strong professional values. One of those values is ‘making the care of people your first concern, treating them as individuals and respecting their dignity’. I believe this statement underpins person- centred practice and the reason that we all entered our profession. When patients or clients need our help, support or intervention they express not just a need for some assistance, but that they are vulnerable and depend on us to meet that need due to illness, lack of ability or lack of capacity. We must always make their needs our first concern no matter how difficult or what demands this places on us.” 

Ros Moore, CNO for Scotland, said: 

“The NMC Code unites nurses and midwives wherever they work and whatever their role. It provides the compass that helps them stay on the right path in their day to day journey through healthcare. It is important therefore that the NMC in the second phase of its consultation works with the professions in Scotland and the rest of the UK to ensure the Code and the interest of those we serve remain at the heart of the professions.” 

Professor Jean White, CNO for Wales, said: 

“As the professional roles of nurses and midwives continue to evolve and expand to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population and the demands of health services, it is essential that the Code is refreshed to remain relevant to modern practices and public expectations of professionals. I encourage everyone to support and engage with this important consultation.” 

The consultation is the second part of the wider revalidation consultation which will run for 12 weeks.



Notes for editors

1.  The NMC is the nursing and midwifery regulator for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Islands. We exist to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public. We set standards of education, training, conduct and performance for nurses and midwives, and hold the register of those who have qualified and meet those standards. We provide guidance to help nurses and midwives keep their skills and knowledge up to date and uphold our professional standards. We have clear and transparent processes to investigate and deal with nurses and midwives who fall short of our standards.

2.   In his report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Robert Francis praised the NMC Code’s “clarity and simplicity” and confirmed that it makes clear the priority that has to be given to patients (12.114).

3.   *The survey is expected to go live by 18:00 on Monday 19 May.

4.   For media enquiries, please contact the media team at or on 020 7681 5649/5936. For out of hours enquiries, please call 07717 867615 or email