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Nurses do not need revalidation to prove safe practice, says new NMC chair

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Professor Tony Hazell, who will lead the NMC’s new-look ruling council, says he is unconvinced that nurses need to undergo revalidation – the regular system of regular fitness to practice checks due to be introduced for nurses.

Nurse revalidation

The government has previously stated that ‘revalidation is necessary for all health professionals’ and at the end of last month published key principles it wants regulators to use to develop proposals on their systems and processes for revalidation.

Professor Hazell is chairperson (designate) of the regulator’s new council – the first to have equal representation of lay and professional members – and will take up the appointed post on 1 January.

But in his first interview with Nursing Times since his appointment, Professor Hazel said: ‘My own view is that we need to ask questions like “what will revalidation achieve, what is the risk out there” and, very importantly, “what would the cost be?”

‘I’d like to think that the NMC can demonstrate that we’re doing as much as is needed to safeguard the interests of the public without overlaying the system with yet another,’ he said.

A spokesperson for the NMC highlighted that Professor Hazell’s comments were made in a personal capacity prior to his taking up post. ‘The NMC fully expects to continue with the revalidation project in 2009,’ he added.

NMC case delays

One long-term criticism facing the NMC is that it takes too long to deal with complaints brought against nurses and midwives. It is currently committed to reducing the average length of time taken to resolve all but 10% of the most complicated cases to 15 months.

Professor Hazell would not commit to when this target might be achieved though he said it was unlikely to be met within the next six months. But he added: ‘I would be very disappointed if I wasn’t able to detect significant improvement within 12 months.’

He also said it was ‘impossible’ to say what a reasonable length of time to resolve a case might be.

‘If you’re going to ensure that all parties are dealt with fairly then, sometimes, you have to take time. We shouldn’t rush – speediness shouldn’t be the prime objective,’ Professor Hazell said.

Read the full interview with Professor Hazell in this week’s issue, published tomorrow.

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