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NMC admits PREP 'not fit for purpose'

Revalidation for nurses will not be introduced for at least three years, despite the head of the Nursing and Midwifery Council admitting current arrangements are “not fit for purpose”.

During a grilling from MPs on the House of Commons health select committee, chief executive Jackie Smith said the regulator had concluded there were major problems with the “PREP” system after conducting an audit of 100 registrants earlier this year.

Under the current Post Registration Education and Practise standards, nurses and midwives must demonstrate they have completed at least 450 hours of practice and 35 hours of continuing professional development every three years in order to re-register.

The system has been derided by the profession and was criticised by the committee last year after it emerged the NMC only checks 4% of registrants. Former chief executive Dickon Weir-Hughes committed to replacing it with revalidation by 2014.

However, yesterday Ms Smith told the committee it would be introduced by 2015 “at the earliest”. Under plans for medical revalidation, currently being rolled out, doctors will be required to collect feedback from patients and colleagues. The process will be overseen by a doctor in the organisation, usually the medical director, designated a senior responsible officer.

Ms Smith said the medical model would not work for nursing. Instead the NMC would have to develop a “proportionate” model, which did not lead to an increase in the registration fee.

She added: “PREP standards are not fit for purpose… We will have to develop a programme where we say these are high risk areas, for example care homes.”

She said the riskiest areas were outside of the NHS and suggested it would be rolled out in stages.

NMC chair Mark Addison, who also appeared before MPs, said sticking with the current system was not an option.

“The revalidation challenge is to move from something that’s very passive which is ticking boxes to something that has content and substance and does that in a way that’s reasonable,” he said.

Committee chair Stephen Dorrell described the NMC’s commitment to bring the FtP backlog under control by 2014 and introduce revalidation the following year as a “huge undertaking”.

Readers' comments (11)

  • In other news bears have been seen entering and exiting the woods carrying toilet rolls.

    Only people who are returning to practice have their PREP checked - ironic really as they need to work to get the hours in etc. This was borne out when I spoke to someone at the NMC on an HR related matter, I was told this off the record but clearly the cat is now out of the bag.

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  • So now..does this mean more study days..ok for NHS workers as in house training is free and mandatory..and study leave is paid. Those in the private sector have to usually pay.

    Being a nurse these days is a costly affair, and in addition to the increase for REG payment...I really wish that the NMC would be dissolved.....

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  • As an NHS nurse I can tell you that study leave is NOT paid routinely - I have been in this post 5 years and any training I have had in my specialist field, outside the mandatory fire, manual handling, infection control etc has been searched for by me, paid for by me, and done in my own time. Ironically, I provide FREE patient related training to private sector nurses in nursing homes and GP practices....

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  • Anonymous | 17-Oct-2012 7:45 pm

    Well said. Really getting fed up with those in the private sector who seem to think that life for nurses in the NHS is a bed of roses. I would say the same if anyone suggested that the reverse were true. (I have extensive experience in both NHS and private settings). The fact is that it ain't a picnic anywhere.

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  • PREP is a farce.

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  • In my Trust we only get the mand/stat days, any other courses we have to pay for and attend in our own time. It certainly as said above 'not a bed of roses' in the public sector for nurses and is in fact getting harder by the day.

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  • is anything the NMC do 'fit for purpose'?

    The card they give us is not even proof of registration.

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  • Anonymous | 21-Oct-2012 9:18 am well said. And they have the cheek to demand more money!

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  • Anonymous | 21-Oct-2012 9:18 am

    The card that is given is for your reference to know when your registration is next due. The letter which that card is attatched to IS proof of your registration.

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  • the card just shows you pin number and it says in the correspondence it is not proof of registration!

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  • No longer get cards just the letter

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