Nurses have been potentially put at risk of falling off the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s register due to confusing information about revalidation dates provided by the regulator, Nursing Times has learnt.
Nursing Times understands the information, which was provided in a pre-recorded message on the NMC’s phoneline, may have led to nurses submitting their revalidation applications too late.
“We’re aware of some confusion over a pre-recorded message on our telephone system”
This would then mean their registration was not renewed, leaving them unable to work as a nurse for up to six weeks. The phoneline, which has been corrected in the past week, previously stated: “Your revalidation date will be the same as your renewal date.”
However, the NMC requires nurses to submit their revalidation application by the first day of the month in which they are due to renew their registration.
The regulator does provide the correct information on its website, but any nurses who only used the phoneline may have mistakenly submitted their applications after the deadline.
New rules brought in by the NMC in at the end of 2015 also mean that nurses who fail to renew their registration on time are no longer able to get back on the register within a couple of days – and instead must wait up to six weeks.
The Royal College of Nursing told Nursing Times that it was “extremely important” that the NMC provided correct information about revalidation in all its communication with registrants. The RCN encouraged nurses affected by the false information to contact the union for advice.
“Any members who think they may have been affected by this issue should contact their rep or RCN Direct [phoneline]. The RCN offers guidance, which is available online, to help nurses prepare for the revalidation process,” said Wendy Preston, head of nursing at the RCN.
“Members who think they may have been affected by this issue should contact their rep”
The NMC declined to say how many nurses had been affected by the incorrect information previously recorded on its phoneline or how long it had been in place, but confirmed to Nursing Times that the message had now been updated.
It highlighted that it also provided other methods of communication to let registrants know the date by which they must revalidate.
“We’re aware of some confusion over a pre-recorded message on our telephone system. This message has now been updated,” said an NMC spokesman.
“Nurses and midwives receive numerous direct communications from the NMC regarding when and how they must revalidate, and we make it clear when their revalidation application needs to be submitted,” he said.
“In addition, our dedicated revalidation website provides a detailed explanation of the revalidation process, while nurses and midwives can also find out their revalidation date when they log onto their NMC online profile,” added the spokesman.
He said that the NMC continued to receive “extremely positive” feedback about revalidation and that the number of people completing revalidation “continues to be in line with our expectations”.