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MPs vote against amendment to protect ‘nurse’ title in law

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled the amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled the amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, but MPs voted 304 to 240 to reject it

MPs have rejected an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to protect the title of nurse in law .

The matter was discussed in the House of Commons today after Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled an

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled the amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, but MPs voted 304 to 240 to reject it

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled the amendment to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council call themselves a nurse
Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled the amendment to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council call themselves a nurse Picture: Parliament TV

MPs have rejected an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to protect the title of nurse in law.

The matter was discussed in the House of Commons today after Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled an amendment to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council can call themselves a nurse.

Dangerous not to protect nurse title in law, says MP

Minister of state for health Edward Argar said the government could ‘see the benefits’ of providing clarity for patients and professionals, but added the amendment does not address the ‘fundamental challenges’ of how this change in law would affect other professionals using the title such as dental nurses and veterinary nurses.

MPs voted 304 to 240, a majority of 64, to reject the amendment.

Ms Butler told the house she believed it was dangerous not to protect the title in law.

‘The nursing profession has some harrowing stories of parents taking advice from someone who called themselves a nurse. They were not a nurse and there were tragic and devastating consequences, so it’s really important that we have got this opportunity to put this right today,’ she said.

The amendment would mean anyone unlawfully using the title nurse would be guilty of an offence and could face a fine.

Petition receives more than 32,000 signatures

It comes after a petition was launched to protect the title of nurse by London South Bank University professor and chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary.

The only protected titles for nursing are ‘registered nurse,’ 'specialist community public health nurse,' 'nursing associate' and 'midwife'.

Professor Leary’s petition, which she set up outside of her professional capacity in June, has received more than 32,000 signatures. If it reaches 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in parliament.

A long-time campaigner for the legal protection of the nurse title, Professor Leary recently told Nursing Standard the public have previously reported feeling misled by someone who was not a registered nurse using the title, adding that the ‘public need to know who they are being seen by’.

Professor Leary has previously condemned around 100 nursing job adverts, including that of a deputy chief nurse, open to people who were not registered nurses.


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