Historic change to improve professional standards for nurses and midwives comes into effect today

01 April 2016

Revalidation for all nurses and midwives in the UK comes into effect today. The introduction of revalidation is the most significant change to the regulation of nurses and midwives in a generation and will mean that everyone on the NMC’s register will have to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are able to deliver care in a safe, effective and professional way. 

The new system is aimed at both improving patient safety and the quality of care that nurses and midwives provide to patients. This fulfils a key recommendation from the Francis report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

To remain practising, nurses and midwives will have to show they are staying up to date in their professional practice and living the values of their professional Code by seeking feedback from patients and colleagues, and engaging in a regular process of reflection, learning and improvement. 

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith said:

“This is a momentous day for the NMC and our registrants. We hold the largest register of healthcare professionals in the UK and revalidation is the most significant regulatory change in our history. 

“Of the thousands of nurses and midwives who have already gone through the system, many have told us they believe it will deliver real benefits in raising standards and protecting the public as well as improving their own professional practice.”

All 692,000 nurses and midwives on the NMC’s register will go through the new process as their registration becomes due for renewal over the course of the next three years.

Revalidation has received strong backing from our main stakeholders across the UK. 

Jane Cummings, CNO for England said:

“I encourage nurses and midwives to see revalidation as a positive opportunity to consider how they are making continuous improvements in the quality and safety of care, and to support ongoing development. Every day I see great examples of the difference our professions are making to so many, and how much this is appreciated. The revalidation exercise will enable us all to give this the thought and time it deserves. By preparing well, collecting and reflecting on evidence, nurses and midwives will see benefits for themselves, their colleagues and those we care for.”

Professor Jean White, CNO for Wales commented:
“The introduction, by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, of revalidation for nurses and midwives is an exciting time for registrants to reflect on their practice, opportunities for professional development and the application of the NMC Code. In Wales we have built on the experiences of the largest UK pilot site, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, worked together across organisations and with interested groups to ensure that we are ready for implementation on the 1 April this year.”

Professor Fiona McQueen, CNO for Scotland said: 

“I welcome the introduction of NMC revalidation for the nursing and midwifery professions as a very positive step. It will provide an opportunity for registrants to demonstrate their professionalism and unique contributions to the delivery of health and social care. Across the landscape of care in Scotland we have provided support for the introduction of revalidation from which benefits can be drawn for patients and the public, registrants and employers alike.”

Charlotte McArdle, CNO for Northern Ireland stated:

“Northern Ireland is ready for revalidation. Many nurses and midwives have already successfully gone through the NMC revalidation process without any difficulties and reported that it was a valuable experience. We are looking forward to the official 'go live' date of 1 April. This is a momentous day for the professions and marks another step on the journey of graduate professions taking responsibility for the protection of the public and the care that they provide.”

Louise Silverton CBE, Director for Midwifery, Royal College of Midwives said:

“The RCM is pleased that after years in development, revalidation is finally here. We hope that midwives will use the opportunity to discuss their development needs, identified through their received feedback and reflections, with their confirmer. Experience from those going through the process is that preparation is vital. All midwives should develop the habit of maintaining records of their CPD, received feedback and reflections on an ongoing basis.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing stated:

“Improving patient care requires a clear and well implemented system to ensure all staff are up to date, and revalidation is an important step towards that. It’s important that all staff who complete the process can get the time and supervision needed to make this vision a reality. 

“The RCN will continue to work with the NMC, employers and nurses themselves to ensure that staff get the support they need to carry out the necessary updates.”

Gail Adam, UNISON head of nursing said: 

“The new system of revalidation has been a long time coming. We'll be working with the Nursing and Midwifery Council on monitoring its implementation and ensuring it meets the objectives for both patient safety and professional registration. 
“Registrants will rightly be nervous because the process is new so employers must help support them. We firmly believe this is the way forward though and want to ensure it remains an effective public protection tool.”

Jane Beach, Professional Officer (Regulation) for Unite said:

“Today is an important day for the professions and we are sure they will as ever rise to the challenge. However, this is just the beginning and we will be continuing to work with the NMC, our members and their employers to monitor progress.” 



Notes for editors

1.   For media enquiries, please contact Ben Jackson on 020 7681 5649 or email media@nmc-uk.org

2.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK. We exist to protect the public. We do this by maintaining the register of qualified nurses and midwives and setting standards of education, training, conduct and performance. We make sure that nurses and midwives keep their skills and knowledge up to date through a regular revalidation process. If concerns are raised about the standards of a registered nurse or midwife, we have a duty to investigate and, where necessary, take action to protect the public. 

3.   For a step-by-step guide to revalidation see our dedicated website.