News

Give nurses the respect they deserve by protecting their job title in law, urges MP

Labour MP Dawn Butler says patient safety is at risk as anyone can call themselves a ‘nurse’

Labour MP Dawn Butler says patient safety is at risk from anyone calling themselves a ‘nurse’

Nurses will be given the ‘respect they deserve’ if the government protects their job title in law, ministers have been told.

Labour MP and former minister Dawn Butler is backing calls to give the title ‘nurse’ special status in a bid to improve patient safety.

Safeguard patient safety by preventing harmful misinformation

Under current rules, only ‘registered nurse’ is a protected title, meaning anyone in the UK, even registered nurses struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), can call themselves a ‘nurse’. Brent Central MP Ms Butler said registered nurses should be ‘protected

Labour MP Dawn Butler says patient safety is at risk from anyone calling themselves a ‘nurse’

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central, urges the government to protect registered nurse job titles
Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Nurses will be given the ‘respect they deserve’ if the government protects their job title in law, ministers have been told.

Labour MP and former minister Dawn Butler is backing calls to give the title ‘nurse’ special status in a bid to improve patient safety.

Safeguard patient safety by preventing harmful misinformation

Under current rules, only ‘registered nurse’ is a protected title, meaning anyone in the UK, even registered nurses struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), can call themselves a ‘nurse’. Brent Central MP Ms Butler said registered nurses should be ‘protected and valued’.

She added: ‘This change will also safeguard patient safety by preventing harmful misinformation, for example from people who may have been struck off or who are not qualified nurses. This pandemic has shown us that it is vital that we give nurses the respect they deserve.’

Concerns have been raised over people who describe themselves as nurses spreading misinformation, including about COVID-19 vaccines. Anti-vax activist Kate Shemirani, who was struck off the nursing register, continues to describe herself as a nurse.

Petition under way as NMC exploring nurse title issue as part of government review

Ms Butler asked the government, via a written parliamentary question, if it is planning to protect the title. In a reply published today, health minister Edward Argar said the Department of Health and Social Care had begun discussions with professional regulators, including the NMC, the office of the chief nursing officer for England, and the RCN, to explore the issue of protected titles as part of an ongoing government review of professional regulation.

Mr Argar said: ‘We will consider the protection of title offences relating to registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates when bringing forward reform of the NMC’s legal framework.’

A petition to make ‘nurse’ a protected title in law was set up by London South Bank University professor of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary. So far, it has been signed by more than 29,000 people. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures then it will be considered for debate in parliament.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs