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Rumoured delays to revalidation 'very worrying' – RCN

RCN and RCM express dismay at claims cash-strapped employers might slow down revalidation

The RCN has described reports that the Department of Health wants to delay the full introduction of nurse and midwife revalidation as a ‘very worrying situation’.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council's new system of competence checks is scheduled to begin in April next year. 

Registrants will have to demonstrate their fitness to practise every three years. But it has been reported the DH now wants to allow employers in financial difficulty initially to opt out of supporting registrants through revalidation. This could delay the full introduction of the system in England.

Revalidation is the responsibility of the individual nurse, but it is expected that registrants would be supported by their employers to meet its requirements, for example in completing continuing professional development.

It has also been reported that the DH proposals will be announced on October 31. 

In response, RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: 'Revalidation needs to happen, and it needs to be done properly to support staff and improve patient care. However it appears this is seen as yet another thing that needs to be put on the back burner because of the dire financial straits the NHS and other employers are in.

'Although we do want employers and nurses to be ready to do revalidation properly, many patients will rightly be questioning why processes designed to keep them safe can be delayed in this way.'

She added that good employers should be going through a full appraisal process with their staff, which would inform their revalidation, but acknowledged 'even quite basic supervision processes are more than the realities on the ground will allow'.

Royal College of Midwives director for midwifery Louise Silverton said the college would be 'extremely disappointed' if there is any delay in the full introduction of revalidation in England.

She said: ‘As far as midwives are concerned there is very little required of employers under the new system that is not is currently the case. I simply cannot see why there should be delays in implementing the process.

‘This is yet another kick in the teeth for our hardworking midwives who have seen years of pay freezes and pay restraint, increased pension contributions and now this. It suggests employers are yet again showing how little they value their midwives and nurses.

'Most importantly, this is about protecting the public and contributing to safer care. So implementing this system should be a top priority and it worries me greatly this appears not to be the case.'

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘We will continue to work with all four UK countries to make it as manageable as possible.’

A DH spokesperson said: ‘We fully support the principles of revalidation. We are working with the NMC to make sure it is introduced in the right way so it is manageable and does not divert nurses and midwives from patient care.'

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