The introduction of revalidation for nurses must be delayed until the Nursing and Midwifery Council has “turned around its current poor performance”, the government has said.
Robert Francis QC said in his seminal report last month that a system of revalidation for nurses – similar to that being rolled out for doctors – would be “highly desirable”.
The NMC has set itself a target of introducing revalidation in 2015, despite previously admitting its current continuing professional development system – Post Registration Education and Practise standards (PREP) – is “not fit for purpose”.
In its initial response to the Francis report last week, the government said: “The NMC’s current focus must be to ensure that the recent improvements in its performance are sustained and that public and professional confidence is restored.
“When the NMC turns around its current poor performance we will work with them to introduce a proportionate and affordable national scheme to ensure all practising nurses are up to date and fit to practise,” it added.
In the interim, the government said nurse appraisals would be “strengthened, made more consistent and explicitly include values and behaviours”, with directors of nursing will lead this process locally.
The DH highlighted that the NMC had already taken steps to act more quickly to address fitness to practise concerns. For example, it had published new standards for pre-registration nursing education in 2010 and introduced a helpline for directors of nursing to discuss FtP issues.
NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: “We now have the opportunity to make real progress on strengthening our protection of the public.”
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