Nursing unions have questioned whether ‘work passport’ ID cards would improve security in the NHS.
Staff might be required to carry a card with details of their professional regulation or licence, with could be inspected.
The proposals are contained in a report by the Department of Health’s working group on extending professional regulation, which has recommended that the DH considers introducing the staff passport as part of its proposed wider review of professional regulation in 2011.
The DH report says any such card would have to work in tandem with the Independent Safeguarding Authority scheme, which is scheduled to be implemented later this year.
However, Barrie Brown, Unite’s lead officer for nursing, questioned why such a scheme would be needed.
‘If staff are registered with the ISA and their appropriate regulatory body, then what does this hope to achieve?’ he asked.
‘We would need a lot more detail to be convinced that it would add anything to the current level of identification and registration that provides security for patients and their families.’
RCN head of policy Howard Catton said the proposals ‘smacked of an ID card’ for healthcare workers.
‘For nurses registered with the NMC, and other healthcare staff with the Health Professions Council, there would have to be questions about duplication and expense,’ he said.