NMC sets out proposals for changes to post-registration standards

22 January 2020

Released today, for approval by the NMC governing Council on 29 January 2020, are proposed changes to the post-registration standards for nurses and midwives which have been recommended by the post-registration standards steering group (PRSSG), chaired by Dr David Foster OBE. 

The steering group recommends to the Council that the NMC develop new standards of proficiency for three fields of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN): school nurses, occupational health nurses and health visitors.

They are also recommending that initial work begin to scope what the content might be for standards of proficiency for a proposed new Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) in community nursing.

The steering group has also recommended to the Council that the NMC undertakes the review of these standards by working collaboratively and engaging with professional bodies and the public across the four countries of the UK. This proposed work would then inform the content of any future standards, to equip practitioners with the right skills and knowledge they need to deliver high quality care now and in the future.

Dr Geraldine Walters, Director of Education and Standards for the NMC, said,

“Nursing and midwifery practice is far different today from ten years ago and who knows what the next ten years may bring. That’s why, since 2016, we have worked closely with many key partners to update our education standards for nursing and midwifery. Through that process and the development of our strategy for 2020-25, we heard how important it was that we next consider our current post-registration standards.

“We have heard a range of views about whether there is a need for regulation of post-registration. What is clear is that our current standards for SCPHN and SPQ practitioners no longer reflect what people using services in their home or in their local community need.

“We want to make sure that any new standards better reflect the work that many nurses in local communities are already doing, including complex clinical work, leading and managing teams and shaping local services.”

Dr David Foster OBE, Chair of the Post-registration Standards Steering Group, said:

"I am very grateful to all the members of the steering group for their detailed discussions and thoughtful contributions to the process. And while we still have a long road ahead of us, I am delighted at the progress we’ve made so far.

“It’s important we take our time to get this right, so that nurses working in communities across the four countries can continue to provide the best and safest care for everyone.”

Dr Bob Brown, Executive Director of Nursing / Director of Primary Care and Older People’s Services at Western Health and Social Care Trust, said:

“I am very pleased that the NMC has prioritised the development of new post-registration standards across the three fields of SCPHN and in particular for a proposed new specialist practitioner qualification in community nursing.

“Throughout the country, district and community nurses are providing highly skilled and often complex care in people’s homes, often leading integrated teams and at the forefront of developing advanced practice with primary care GP colleagues.

“It is essential that community nursing practice is appropriately governed, and the NMC standards of proficiency are an essential foundation for providing safe and effective care for people in the community.”


Further background

  • For further information, please see the 29 January 2020 Council papers
  • The steering group brings together the expertise of key stakeholders from across the four countries of the UK, including unions, subject matter experts, chief nursing offices in the four countries, and the Queens Nursing Institute and the Queens Nursing Institute Scotland.
  • 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 in our Standards for post-registration section.

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