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Delay to key nursing associate regulation legislation 'likely'

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Key legislation to enable the regulation of the new nursing associate role looks set to be delayed, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The role is currently being piloted at 35 sites across England, with around 2,000 trainees due to complete programmes from January 2019.

”Legislative delays to the Section 60 changes required for the regulation of this [nursing associate] role seem likely”

NMC

In January 2017 the NMC agreed to the Department of Health’s request to regulate associates. It is expected to take around 18 months for the legislation to be set up.

However, an NMC report due to be discussed at the regulator’s council meeting this week reveals a possible setback when it comes to legal changes needed in order for the body to regulate the new role, following the general election last month.

“Legislative delays to the Section 60 changes required for the regulation of this role seem likely,” said the report.

“We continue to liaise closely with Department of Health officials on the drafting needed to prepare the changes for ministerial approval. Further updates will be provided as the position becomes clearer,” it added.

”Following the general election there remains some uncertainty about delay to our fitness to practise (FtP) rule changes”

NMC

This raises the possibility of the first nursing associates starting work without regulation in place. However, the extent to which the legislation could be delayed is not clear.

Nursing Times contacted the NMC for more detail and is awaiting a response.

Meanwhile the NMC council papers also reveal doubts about the timing of legislation that will allow changes to fitness to practise rules, in the wake of the general election.

“Following the general election there remains some uncertainty about delay to our fitness to practise (FtP) rule changes,” said the report.

However, it states the regulator “remains hopeful” that the process will remain on track to come into force by the end of this month, as planned.

“The reappointment of the minister of state for health, Philip Dunne, means we remain hopeful that we will receive final ministerial approval to ensure the changes can come into effect from the end of July 2017,” it said.

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