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Fitness to practise tests to be put on ice


Plans to regularly check nurses’ competencies are likely to be delayed after a similar scheme for doctors was postponed by the government, according to a senior regulator.

Last week’s decision to defer for a year checks on doctors’ fitness to practise will “inevitably” impact revalidation plans for other professions, Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence chief executive Harry Cayton told Nursing Times.

Mr Cayton, whose organisation oversees the NMC, said: “There will be a feeling that it’s appropriate now to watch and wait a bit longer before individual regulators launch revalidation schemes for their own groups of professionals.

“We will see all the regulators want[ing] to pause and take stock of what the delay in the agreement for doctors means for them. I fear it will be a while yet before patients can be confident that their professionals are up to date [with learning].”

The NMC has been developing revalidation plans and is currently undertaking a “scoping exercise” to look at the options.

A spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to move forward with non-medical revalidation and we’ve had no discussions with the DH who continue to monitor the development of revalidation models.”


Readers' comments (8)


    i must say i appalled about this decision ,i was a staff nurse and because i felt i could not honestly say i had full filled my prep requirements i let my registration go. I am now a retired nurse. ,who is very frustrated at the way things are going in the profession.

    How many nurses would do the same ,we
    need the tests to ensure ability to continue .

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  • Hmm, I have to say I'm a little on the fence with this one for once.

    I really do see Sandra's point, but I'm not sure tests are the right way forward at the moment. At the moment regular tests seem a little Draconian and would do little except create a whole new (and expensive) layer of beauracracy in the NHS to handle it all, and create extra work for overburdened staff.

    What they need to fix first is the course content of the training, more A&P, more pathophysiology, more pharmacology and medications, more skills labs, etc rather than expecting us to go and learn all this in our own time. Then once we start work, they need to sort out ensuring we get adequate time off for study days and updates on practical skills (perhaps even increasing this time) and ensuring there is enough staff on the wards to allow this.

    Lets get the basics right first.

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  • brilliant idea if they give us 2 weeks update training with test at the end of it (paid of course) - otherwise forget it!

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  • Midwives have a very effective system of both validation and self validation as each year we have a supervision interview and sign an intention to practise in the forthcoming year. It is much more rigorous than clinical supervision (I am on part 1 and 2 of the NMC register so know both systems). I can't see how another mechanism would help in midwifery - better to use the monies to provide study and training and use what we have. I am so pleased it did not come about as the medics would still get away while nurses and midwives would be hammered. This happens in maternity so I speak from (fortunately) observed experiences.

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  • I personally think revalidation is a very good thing. Yes it needs to be done right and yes preferrably without the extra layer of beauracracy.

    I am not sure that a 2 weeks update training prior to the test is the ideal. What needs to be measured is the here and now. If we are not functioning at our best whilst we are in role then this needs to be identified and measures put in place to improve our nursing practice.

    We owe it to our patients to be the best that we can be. How this is monitored is another question. In years gone by this was done informally, on a routine basis on the job, through mentorship. What it will look like in the future - is anyone's guess.

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  • I agree with anonymous 9.02. But functioning out our best can be limited by chronic staff shortages and there also needs to be a better way of addressing organisation practice as well as individual practice.

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  • Teachers, physicians ... have paid study time why shouldn't all nurses have the same opportunities. There are such inequalities in the public sector.

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  • Recently qualified; preceptorship nil "sorry too busy, you will just have to get on with it" Moved jobs, better support as quieter environment, but less acute so may be de-skilling? Can't win! Just make sure there are enough nurses to do their job competently, time to learn new skills and to be supervised if necessary. Not rocket science really. And NO NO NO more jobs for managers!

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