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RCN position on plans to expand the COVID-19 temporary register

Published: 22 December 2021
Last updated: 22 December 2021
Abstract: RCN position on plans to expand the COVID-19 temporary register

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have announced plans to expand the COVID-19 temporary register to those who have recently left the permanent register and to overseas-trained nurses in response to the current pressures facing the NHS. 

The nursing workforce across all four countries of the UK continues to work under significant pressure with vacancies rising and the numbers of staff absent from work also increasing at an alarming rate. 

The RCN therefore supports the measures announced today and considers it vital to expand the nursing workforce to support the delivery of safe and effective care. 

However, it is crucial that those choosing to return to practice or join the temporary register from overseas receive robust support and supervision to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to practice safely.

We welcome the NMC’s acknowledgement of the impact that COVID-19 has had on professionals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals and the importance of protecting these professionals from any additional risk they face and therefore urge organisations to adopt the RCN’s position regarding robust risk assessments and the provision of higher levels of PPE.

In the longer-term, the UK must end its over-reliance on overseas nursing staff by investing in domestic education programmes and providing the real financial support nursing students require.