The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have announced measures to expand the workforce to support the health and care services during the COVID-19 emergency.
A joint statement was issued on 19 March by NMC, chief nursing officers, Council of Deans of Health, the Department of Health and Social Care, royal colleges and trade unions. This confirmed four actions:
- Once the UK government passed the legislation to enable the NMC to establish a COVID-19 temporary emergency register, inviting those nurses who have left the register within the last three years to opt in should they wish to do so;
- Encouraging those nurses who are currently on the register but not working in clinical care to consider coming into clinical practice during this time;
- Changing the nature of the programme for undergraduate nursing students so that they can opt to undertake their final six months of their programme as a clinical placement;
- The next stage of the Covid-19 temporary register would be to establish a specific student part to the emergency register for students in the final six months of their programme, which would have specific conditions of practice to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place.
A second statement issued 25 March provided an update in relation to nursing and midwifery students in all fields, who are not in the final six months of their programme.
The RCN will provide its expertise with and on behalf of members to inform guidance, negotiate employment terms and conditions within emergency measures, and support members who may be willing to return to clinical practice where appropriate.
The Chief Nursing Officers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are developing deployment guidance for employers, professionals and students, including terms and conditions and remuneration for those on the temporary register and for students who opt on to the register.
New guidance has been published by Health Education England for students in England. Further guidance is expected for students in Wales and Northern Ireland.
New guidance has also been published by the Scottish Government for students in Scotland. If you are a student in Scotland please also refer to these FAQs developed by the RCN.
Please continue to check this page for updates. In the meantime, our FAQs may answer your immediate questions.