The NMC last week voted to overturn a decision about the registration of specialist community public health nurses, after the government raised concerns.
Council members rescinded a decision made in 2005, which let SCPHNs remain on the third part of the register without renewing registration on the nursing or midwifery sections.
Earlier this year the DH queried the legality of the original decision and in a statement to NT last week warned that nurses not on the first or second part of the register would effectively be ‘de-regulated’ (NT News, 4 December, p2).
SCPHNs will now need to renew their registration on the nursing or midwifery sections of the register as well as on the third part.
To do this, midwives will have to complete 450 hours of midwifery practice over three years as well as 450 hours as a SCPHN. Nurses, however, will be able to use their 450 SCPHN practice hours for nurse registration.
The 3,961 nurses who are currently solely on the third part of the register will be required to reapply to the nursing or midwifery section when their registrations come up for renewal in two to three years’ time.
Despite its agreement to reverse the original decision, the NMC last week claimed at its council meeting that nurses had not been illegally registered.
NMC chief executive Sarah Thewlis said: ‘I expect the DH and ourselves could have a long discussion over the particular legal advice we’ve each had. I believe ours is very clear – it’s not illegal but what we need to do is “regularise” the situation.’
Ms Thewlis also pointed out that the decision was an interim measure that would change when nurse revalidation was introduced