A controversial safeguarding scheme has been partly halted by the government following fears it would lead to nurses being unjustly struck off.
The Home Office has postponed all new registrations with the Independent Safeguarding Authority while it carries out a review of the vetting and barring scheme.
While welcomed by the RCN, the move will not help nurses already facing being barred from practising with limited right to appeal.
The announcement to review it means plans to register new staff or those changing roles from next month onwards will be postponed.
A Home Office spokesman told Nursing Times the postponement would not prevent new staff working as employers would still be able to check their status with the Criminal Records Bureau.
While the review is underway, the ISA will continue to make decisions about whether nurses are fit to work with children and vulnerable adults and employers will still be obliged to refer any staff who may pose a risk.
The RCN plans to continue with its judicial review. Its chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said nursing staff gave “paramount protection” to the protection of vulnerable patients but were concerned about the “potential unfairness” of the barring process.
He said: “As it stands there is an apparent duplication with other healthcare regulators and no adequate safeguards against ill-founded allegations, which could leave nursing staff disproportionately barred for 10 years for less serious disciplinary offences, and with no effective right of appeal.”