The introduction of revalidation has led to a “substantial drop off” in the number of people aged 65 or over renewing their nursing registration, as well as a smaller reduction among those in their mid 50s to mid 60s, an independent report has revealed.
A team of researchers from Ipsos Mori compared registration renewals under the NMC’s old post-registration education and practice standards (PREP) system with those since revalidation was introduced last year.
“Renewal rates for registrants aged 56-65 decreased following the introduction of revalidation”
IPSOS Mori report
The increase in the number of people lapsing their registration in the oldest group is unlikely to worsen staffing shortages, because many may in any case be out of practice and are “effectively retired”, said the new report. There are also only a small number of people within this age range, it noted.
But the rise in the number of people between the ages of 56 and 65 leaving the register could have more serious consequences for the profession because a larger number of people are in this age group, warned the report – titled Independent evaluation of revalidation for nurses and midwives.
Potential reasons for the drop off could include nurses and midwives taking early retirement or lapsing registrations that they were not currently using, said the Ipsos Mori researchers.
But they warned that if a “substantial proportion” of registrants in this age group blamed an inability to meet the requirements of revalidation – whether this was real or just a perception – this would have “more serious negative ramifications for nursing and midwifery”.
The research team was commissioned by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to carry out an independent evaluation of the first year since revalidation was introduced in April 2016.
In their report, published earlier this month, the researchers said they were now conducting further work to explore registrants’ reasons for lapsing.
”Renewal rates for registrants aged 56-65 decreased following the introduction of revalidation. This is the subject of ongoing qualitative work being undertaken by the evaluation team, due to the potential negative impact on the register,” said the report.
It did not reveal the number of people who failed to renew their registration under revalidation, compared with those who did not do so under PREP.
But a separate report on revalidation by the NMC, also published earlier this month, provides an indication of the extent to which older registrants who were due to revalidate have now left the register.
Among nurses and midwives aged 51 to 60 years old, 90.6% – or 59,272 – of the 65,423 due to revalidate did so. But in the 61 to 70 year-old age group, just 70.5% – 10,430 – out of 14,795 completed the new system of checks.
Meanwhile, only around half of the 1,017 registrants aged 71 or older renewed their registration. Among nurses and midwives in all other younger age groups, 96% renewed their registrations.
A spokeswoman for the NMC said it was undertaking work to understand more about the reasons why nurses and midwives may lapse their registration.
”Early indications from this work have shown that, where the revalidation requirements were cited as a reason, it was often the inability to meet the practice hours requirement which resulted in the lapsed registration.
”To meet the practice hours requirement, nurses and midwives must undertake 450 hours practice over three years. This is requirement is set out in our legislation and is roughly the equivalent of three months full time work. It is also exactly the same as under the previous PREP renewal process,” she said.
“However, we are not complacent and we will continue work to further understand the reasons why nurses and midwives may lapse their registration,” she added.