The time nurses must spend in practice and training in order to re-register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council every three years is “wholly inadequate”, MPs have warned.
Nurses must re-register with the regulator every three years as part of a “periodic renewal” requiring them to state in that period they have undertaken at least 450 hours of practice and 35 hours of continuous professional development.
In a report about the NMC published last week, the health select committee said: “The current standard for re-registration…is wholly inadequate, as this tells patients and the public nothing about the quality of nursing and midwifery practice undertaken by the registrant.
“There is also no routine assessment of whether nurses and midwives have even met this minimal standard. The NMC instead relies on honesty within the profession and ‘whistle-blowing’ when registrants are dishonest.”
The report reveals the NMC scrutinises about 4% of nurses’ portfolios to determine whether they meet post-registration education and practice (PREP) standards, as part of a risk-based process.
The regulator told Nursing Times this had uncovered one nurse whose practice hours included working at a riding school and whose CPD amounted to training in horse acupuncture. Her re-registration was refused.
NMC chief executive and registrar Dickon Weir-Hughes said: “Revalidation will supersede our existing PREP system and we are determined that the new system will be evidence-based, risk-based, proportionate and cost effective.” The system should be ready by 2014.