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Regulator suffers union vote of no confidence

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Union leaders have passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the NMC over confusion about the registration of specialist community public health nurses (SCPHNs).

A meeting of the Unite/CPHVA’s national professional committee passed the vote following an NMC decision that meant SCPHNs would have to maintain their original nursing or midwifery registration as well as their place on the third part of the register.

Angela Roberts, chairperson of the committee, has written to NMC president Nancy Kirkland, asking for guarantees that SCPHNs will continue to have separate and equal recognition.

The NMC voted in December to overturn a decision made in 2005 that allowed SCPHNs to remain on the third part of its register without renewing registration on the nursing or midwifery sections.

NT revealed the Department of Health had queried the legality of the 2005 decision last year, which led to the U-turn at the council meeting in December (NT News, 11 December, p5).

The Unite/CPHVA committee said it was concerned that the reversal had been made without proper consultation. It also said nurses who became SCPHNs would be unable to complete the 450 hours of registered practice required as a result of the ruling. Midwife SCPHNs must complete 900 hours’ registered practice.

Cheryll Adams, the union’s acting professional officer, said: ‘[The committee is] concerned about a lack of transparency and process.

‘They are concerned that the council does not maintain its independent status in relation to public protection – it seems to be driven by the agenda of the government’s health department.’

NMC chief executive Sarah Thewlis confirmed the NMC had received the union’s letter and would be responding.

An NMC spokesperson said: ‘Obviously we are disappointed with the vote of no confidence.’

‘Nurses or midwives must maintain their registration as a nurse or midwife to link to their initial pre-registration competencies. The DH has reiterated this view, which was also the collective decision of the council,’ he said.

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