COVID-19 emergency nursing register to close in March 2024
The 19,000+ staff who joined the Nursing and Midwifery Council's temporary register to work during the pandemic will be contacted with advice on next steps
The emergency register for nurses is set to close next March the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed.
Nurses and midwives who want to continue practising can join permanent register
The temporary register was set up in March 2020 as part of the emergency response to COVID-19. It allowed those who previously left the profession to rejoin the workforce to help boost staffing during the pandemic.
The NMC stopped accepting new people onto the temporary register in March 2022 following the government’s decision to end all coronavirus measures and has now confirmed it will close the register at the end of March 2024.
The regulator has said it will focus on supporting those who want to continue practising to join the permanent register. As of 13 September, there were 1,446 nursing and midwifery professionals on the temporary register.
NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘We remain incredibly proud of the nurses and midwives who joined the COVID-19 temporary register. The height of the pandemic was a frightening time for us all, but thousands of professionals stepped forward to help support essential health and care services.
‘They have made a vital difference to people’s lives and we’re immensely grateful for their contribution, particularly in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We’ll be writing to everyone on the temporary register shortly to advise them of next steps.’
Hundreds of nurses were not given work after joining temporary register
Some 19,333 nurses joined the temporary register during its first two years, but analysis later showed hundreds had not been contacted to work. An NMC survey of 3,690 people on the temporary register in August 2021 found 1,068 had never been contacted by employers to take up offers of help during the pandemic.
Those on the temporary register are not subject to the normal NMC fees or revalidation and fitness to practise requirements.
Who joined the temporary register during COVID-19?
In March 2020, different groups were invited join the temporary register, including international nurses and those who had retired or had left the register. They included:
- Nurses and midwives who left the permanent register between 1 March 2017 and 29 February 2020
- Overseas candidates who had completed all parts of their NMC registration process except their OSCE (objective structured clinical examination)
- Nurses and midwives who left the permanent register between 1 March 2015 and 28 February 2017
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