Details of nurses and midwives who have been struck off are to be published online in a bid to improve public protection.
From January next year, details of all registrants struck off since January 2008 will be added to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s online register. The proposal was approved by the regulator last week.
The move is in line with a recommendation from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence that struck off registrants details should be available on the register for at least five years.
However, NMC council members decided last week that details should remain online indefinitely.
Council member Ruth Sawtell said: “From the point of view of public protection, indefinite is safer.”
Fellow council member Beatrice Teuten added that the change should prove useful for the general public when employing home care workers.
She said: “It has been known that people who have been struck off then apply for healthcare support worker jobs. Increasingly this work is in people’s own homes. [In this context] five years is neither here nor there.”
Last week’s council meeting also approved rule changes to allow nurses and midwives subject to fitness to practise proceedings to apply to remove themselves from the register, thus avoiding a full hearing. This option is already available to doctors facing General Medical Council proceedings.
The NMC council was told that the registrar would have to approve any voluntary removals from the register – known technically as consensual disposal – and the option would mainly be allowed in cases where the registrant’s health was the reason for the impairment to their fitness to practise.
Where the allegation relates to a lack of a competence, voluntary removal was only likely to be allowed if the nurse or midwife accepted their fitness to practise was impaired, had already ceased practising and had no intention to return to practice.
However, in cases of alleged misconduct voluntary removal was only likely to be used in “exceptional” cases, the NMC said.