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Exclusive: Post-revalidation fall in nurses 'no cause for alarm'

  • 35 Comments

A large number of nurses leaving the register when revalidation is introduced in April should not be automatically viewed as a concern, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The regulator has analysed registration trends in order to try and reassure the profession about the impact of the new system of checks that will require nurses and midwives to renew their registration every three years.

“The first thing people will want to know is how many people have left the register”

Jackie Smith

Around 16,000 nurses and midwives – about 2.5% of the register – are due to revalidate in April. Concerns have been raised that having to complete the new process could dissuade some nurses from remaining on the register, indicated by a sharp fall in registrants when it is introduced.

But the NMC’s analysis, shared with Nursing Times, shows more people usually leave in April than most other parts of the year. A report due to be shown to the UK’s chief nursing officers, NHS England and other national bodies this week suggests the number of nurses and midwives who deregister every year is not spread evenly across 12 months.

April sees a “significantly higher” proportion – 11% – of all annual leavers departing at this time, compared to other months such as June and July (6%), said the report. It said this was because, for older nurses, it was one of only two times in the year when they could first join the register, and many of those are now at retirement age.

The report estimates that, based on data from the past five years and without taking into account any effect of revalidation, between 2,900 and 3,200 nurses and midwives will leave the register in April 2016. Of these, around 62% are expected to be aged over 54.

“This is about the NMC being on the front foot and putting out there what is naturally a trend”

Jackie Smith

The NMC has predicted between 26,700 and 29,300 nurses and midwives will leave the register from April 2016 to March 2017 in total. It noted that in recent years, despite an average 3.5% annual increase in the number of people leaving, the register has grown by around 28,000 people in the past six years.

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: “There is no doubt that when revalidation goes live in April, the first thing people will want to know is how many people have left the register. This [report] is about the NMC being on the front foot and putting out there what is naturally a trend and has been over the past few years in terms of leaving the register.

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith

She told Nursing Times the report would be shared with CNOs and others to stop any “alarmist” reaction to high numbers leaving the register, which in fact could be attributed to a historical trend.

“We are trying to say to them that over the past few years there have been peaks throughout the calendar year where nurses and midwives have left the register,” said Ms Smith. “One of those peaks is in April, which happens to be the start of revalidation, so please don’t be concerned.”

  • 35 Comments

Readers' comments (35)

  • JS why can't you accept revalidation is not going to work, please do the respectable thing and step down. The amount of nurses leaving can not be hidden by ridiculous manipulation of statistics. You are overseeing an exodus.

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  • When those good nurses leave more will follow when the shortfall creates too much pressure on those left. Also you fail to add those nurses simply not nursing. JS after getting it wrong and worries your persecuting WBs please do the right thing and leave. I know too many real nurses who simply don't want you.

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  • We need commonsense nurses in charge of the NMC

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  • The revalidation thing has been massive cock up. Who ever came up with this idea should be shot. Keeping your skills up to date is good but it should be fun and in house with your job and post. Made so stressful and many will leave and retire than stay on have this issue. Getting patients to give you feedback. really?

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  • My husband is 58 years old and an experienced ITU nurse. He has taken flexible retirement and is working 18 hours a week. He has decided to apply for a therapy assistant job before going through revalidation. I know many older semi retired nurses who have said they will leave nursing before putting themselves through the chore of revaluation. A great loss of experience to nursing!

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  • I have been overseas and have only partly been able to fulfil the requirements. I am 53, it just too stressful whatever anyone says.I will not be renewing my registration, I feel it's time to do something else.

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  • The significance should be the change from the figures already known i.e. less nurses left the register since the introduction of Revalidation.
    The important element here is that we are talking about this now, before the figures are known.

    I would have been interested in knowing what extra drop off figure has been identified by the NMC to be 'within expected parameters' i.e. since the introduction of Revalidation an extra 10 % of nurses have left the register on top of the normal yearly norms. How many extra nurses we may lose on top of the yearly norms that are worth it for the introduction of Revalidation and what steps are already in place to mitigate this potential loss?

    What plan is in place to follow up on all nurses that leave to encourage them to come back on board, either monetarily i.e. reduced membership fees or through extra follow up and support.

    I'm sure we are worth keeping, by ensuring once nurses drop off the register there is a great system already identified and ready to swing into action to get them back on.....with matching performance data.



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  • Is there any other profession on this planet that has to revalidate.

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  • Well, yes Anonymous 3.34 - doctors and other professions already do it. As a nurse, I cannot really argue with having to demonstrate that I have kept active in the profession, though of course I will be quick to complain if the system is difficult to use or unfair in operation. I think I know what Jackie Smith and the NMC anticipate - there are a number of people I know who are in jobs where being a nurse is not a requirement and where there is no nursing content. Where they could previously just tick the box they can now cut the link and avoid having to document (and pay the NMC!). However, there may be hard pressed nurses close to retirement for whom revalidation is the final decision maker for them - I don't think these can be discounted in the same way as the group I mentioned

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  • JS is deluded

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