Nurses accused of incompetence could in future leave the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in order to avoid full fitness to practise procedures, under plans agreed in principle by the regulator.
At an NMC council meeting last week, members agreed to the idea of nurses being allowed to voluntarily remove themselves from the register in certain circumstances. These include cases involving mental health problems and “minor conduct or conviction cases”.
Doctors are already currently able to do this, but not nurses or midwives.
However, council members raised concerns that the NMC would currently be legally unable to bar such individuals from applying to the register again in future.
Concerns were expressed by members on whether decisions over nurses re-entering the register would sufficiently take into account professional expert opinion.
The plans, which are yet to gain formal ministerial approval, will be discussed further at a later meeting.