NMC temporary register reaches incredible milestone as more than 10,000 sign up to fight Covid-19

17 April 2020

Latest figures out today reveal 10,823 former nurses and midwives and overseas registrants who have the expertise and experience to support the response to Covid-19 have joined the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) emergency register as the UK continues to tackle the pandemic.

This fantastic response follows the professional regulator’s launch of its Covid-19 temporary register three weeks ago, and comes at a time when the need to expand the nursing and midwifery workforce has never been greater.

Having initially reached out to nursing and midwifery professionals who had voluntarily left their professions within the last three years, more recently the NMC invited some nurses and midwives with overseas qualifications who are based in the UK, and those who left the register within the last four and five years, to also join the Covid-19 temporary register. 

The details of these temporary registrants are being shared with health and care organisations across all four countries of the UK, who are working hard to match them with employers and ensure they access appropriate training, support and equipment.

Flexibility through the NMC’s emergency education programme standards has also enabled more than 22,000 students to join in the response to Covid-19 through extended clinical placements across the UK.

Commenting on the milestone moment, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Thank you to everyone who has signed up to our temporary register. To see almost 11,000 people join is truly phenomenal and I’m very grateful to everyone who has answered our call. They will make such a huge contribution to the UK response to Covid-19.

“We need nurses and midwives with all sorts of skills and experience. Some of our temporary registrants are already looking after people severely ill with coronavirus, others are covering for colleagues in different health or social care settings who are ill themselves, working as midwives in delivery suites, providing telephone advice or supporting older and disabled people in nursing homes and in the community.

“We know the pressures on the NHS and social care caused by coronavirus are not going away any time soon. So, the register is still open for temporary registrants via our website. If you think you fit the criteria and haven’t heard from us or want more information, please take a look.

“I know we are asking a lot. These are difficult times but we really need the skill, care and compassion nurses and midwives bring to help keep the nation safe. Thank you so much.

“Nurses and midwives are the beating heart of our health and care system and as the applause ringing out every Thursday night shows, we all appreciate and value them more than ever before.”

Claire Roberts is one of the nurses who has joined the NMC’s Covid-19 temporary register and returned to the frontline amid the pandemic. She says it’s a privilege to be back at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn, where she first started in 1983 as an intensive care nurse and was appointed deputy director of nursing, before retiring in 2018.

Claire said:

“Staying at home in self-isolation was never really an option for me. After a career spanning more than 40 years as a registered nurse in the NHS, the bonds that bind me are tight indeed. The coming weeks in this country are going to test us all in different ways but for those working in the NHS this will be the challenge of a lifetime.

“It is for this reason that I and other former nursing colleagues have already come out of retirement and have returned to work in our local hospital. We are part of the nationwide call to arms that is being answered daily by retired and former doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. We come with different skills and experience but we all want to provide support to our former colleagues and to help wherever we can.

“I hope that I will be able to make a meaningful contribution. I am not sure what that will be as the weeks progress but it will be a privilege to be part of this collective effort to weather the coming storm and save as many lives as possible.”

Minister for Care Helen Whately said:

“This is a simply phenomenal response to the call for nurses and midwives to return to the frontline. I’d like to say thank you to every single one: a huge thank you for being willing and ready to come back to the NHS and help save lives.

“Thousands of healthcare professionals have already taken up posts in our NHS and social care services and I hope to see many more nurses and midwives joining their ranks over the coming weeks - with their help we can beat Covid-19.”

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

“I am bowled over by the astonishing number of nurses and midwives coming back to support our Covid-19 response work. In what often feels like the worst of times, we are seeing the very best of so many of our colleagues. My personal thanks and respect to all those involved.”

Professor Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, said:

“It is so encouraging to see nurses and midwives responding to join the NMC temporary register. Their valued contribution will be vital in supporting our health and social care services at such a challenging time. Thank you.”

Professor Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, said:

"In times of historical crisis nurses and midwives have risen to the challenge of stepping forward to support the delivery of care. Today, we find ourselves in exceptional circumstances and again we have asked for your help. I could not be more proud of the way the nursing and midwifery professions, and our students, have already responded to answer the call to provide support to our health and care sectors; your contribution is very much appreciated and I thank you all."

Professor Jean White CBE, Chief Nursing Office for Wales, said:

“I am delighted to see the outstanding response from nurses and midwives to our call to return to support the health and care sectors during this awful COVID19 pandemic. Thank you all for stepping forward, your contributions will make all the difference.”


Further background

1. As at Friday 17 April 2020, there are 10,823 of former nurses and midwives who have returned to the NMC Covid-19 temporary register. These include:

  • 8486 returners within three years
  • 830 returners within four and five years
  • 1507 overseas based in UK waiting their final exam

2. To ensure the safety of both the professionals and the public, we have set conditions of practice for each group, which are available as a part of our joint statement here.

3. We have recently published a number of statements on issues relating to practise during the Covid-19 pandemic:

4. Further information will be regularly updated on our website: www.nmc.org.uk/covid19

For further media enquiries, please contact the NMC press office on 0207 681 5984 or by email media@nmc-uk.org