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Unite concern over delays caused by new review of NMC

Unite, the union, has expressed concern about the continuing delay into how the Nursery and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates the nursing professions and provides protection to the public. 

The government has yesterday (Thursday, 26 January) ordered a strategic review of the NMC. 

Unite, which represents health visitors, community nurses, mental health nurses and sexual health advisers, has long called for changes to the third part of the register to ensure better regulation for nurses and midwives who work in public health nursing, ensuring that the public is protected. 

The public needs to be assured that the health professional carrying out ‘health visitor’ roles has the required qualifications that health visitors train for. 

Unite national officer for health, Barrie Brown said: ‘We are concerned that in having this high level review, there will be more delay in sorting out the NMC’s regulatory role. Our members, who are NMC registrants, have already waited a long time for the review of the third part of the register.’ 

‘We had the very welcome announcement at the Unite/ Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) conference last October that this would happen, starting this year - and we have started the early negotiations on this with the NMC.’ 

‘To now have the possibility that it will  be kicked into the long grass, after the now departed NMC chief executive Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes agreed that the third part was a mess and it needed to be sorted out, is extremely concerning.’ 

‘At a time when nurses and midwives, face employers cutting the number of frontline practitioners, they need to be able to rely on a strong regulator. This need is heightened by the Health and Social Care Bill which will herald a deluge of private providers into the NHS – and this is a huge concern.’ 

‘We have seen the effect when nurses have not been able to raise concerns locally and this  results in patient deaths, as the Mid Staffordshire scandal revealed.’ 

'U
nite welcomes the review if it is quick and thorough, and results in nurses and midwives having a regulator that is on their side when they are fighting for better and safer services for their patients and clients against corporate bodies.’ 

‘The bottom line is that the public needs – and deserves – a strong NMC to regulate the nursing professions – and that the high standards that the NHS is known for across the world are maintained and improved.’ 

Note for news desks: 

For further information, please contact Unite professional officer, Dave Munday on 07918 630 700; and/or Unite communications officer, Shaun Noble on 07768 693 940. 

Unite’s health sector includes the CPHVA, the Mental Health Nurses Association and the Society of Sexual Health Advisers.

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