At present, members who are struck off by the regulator automatically have their college membership quashed as well, but the RCN council agreed at its latest meeting that a special sub-committee should be set up by the college to hear appeals from its members who are struck off the NMC register.
Staff affected may be able to stay on as associate members, the council said – for instance, if they continued to work as a healthcare support worker after being taken off the register.
RCN officials who represent a member in an NMC case who is removed from the register and not reinstated on appeal will be instructed to inform RCN Direct – the college’s membership and information department – of the situation.
Alan Mawbey, chairperson of the RCN’s membership, representation and diversity committee, said: ‘Those people who want to remain members if they have been struck off have [now] got an appeals process.’
Council chairperson Sandra James added: ‘Nurses who get struck off the register express some real concerns to us. If someone wants to remain in membership and they want us to consider putting them on a lower category we can give that consideration.’
Ms James admitted there might be concerns that retaining members who had been struck off would bring the college into disrepute. ‘It is about organisational risk,’ she said.
Les Storey, council member for the North West, said that the new rules should also be extended to members in Scotland who are currently taking part in healthcare support worker registration scheme pilots (NT News, 10 April 2007, p5).
‘The issue does not just apply to members who are on the NMC register,’ he said.
The council agreed that the process for ratifying new college members will be reinstated. Historically, council ratified new members at each of its meetings, but this process ceased in 2000.