The Nursing and Midwifery Council is to discontinue offering professional advice to nurses and midwives via its telephone line and email service at the end of this month.
The decision, which has drawn criticism from the royal colleges of nursing and midwives, is part of the regulator’s attempts to refocus on its core fitness to practise functions in response to concerns raised in January by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.
An NMC spokeswoman said: “We have reviewed our role in providing advice to nurses and midwives and consider that this can lead to confusion about our purpose as a regulator.
“As a result we will be withdrawing our individual telephone and email advisory service from 29 June.”
The spokeswoman said “other mechanisms” – such as managers, professional organisations and unions – were “better placed” to provide “advice and support in relation to professional or clinical issues”.
But Janet Davies, RCN executive director of nursing and service delivery, told Nursing Times: “It is quite unbelievable they are taking away what nurses regard as a useful service when they are trying to increase the fees.”
RCM general secretary Louise Silverton added: “Giving 10 days’ notice for the withdrawal of this service and expecting trade unions to pick up this service is not enough time for the handover, especially as the NMC is planning on raising fees while reducing its services.”
The NMC spokeswoman added that the regulator’s website had been redesigned to enable easier access to its standards and guidance, and to see which of them was currently under review.
“There will be a separate section focussing on how regulation can be applied in practice, including clear signposting to other organisations who provide different types of information or services for nurses and midwives,” she said.