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Petition prompts government to consider legal protection for ‘nurse’ job title

Ongoing campaign calls for law change to stop the use of the title for non-registered roles

Ongoing campaign calls for law change to stop the use of the title 'nurse' for non-registered roles

The government says it is exploring legal protection for the title ‘nurse’ in its response to a 19,000-strong public petition calling for the title to be restricted to qualified professionals.

The petition was set up by London South Bank University professor and chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary , who did so in a private rather than professional capacity. It calls for

Ongoing campaign calls for law change to stop the use of the title 'nurse' for non-registered roles

Ongoing campaign calls for law change to stop the use of ‘nurse’ job title when post-holders are not registered clinicians
Picture: Alamy

The government says it is exploring legal protection for the title ‘nurse’ in its response to a 19,000-strong public petition calling for the title to be restricted to qualified professionals.

The petition was set up by London South Bank University professor and chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary, who did so in a private rather than professional capacity. It calls for the title of ‘nurse’ to be legally restricted to those registered with professional regulators, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

NMC and England's chief nursing officer working with government

Under current rules, only ‘registered nurse’ is a protected title, meaning anyone in the UK, even registered nurses struck off by the NMC, can call themselves a ‘nurse’.

In its response to the petition, the Department of Health and Social Care said that the government is aware of concerns regarding use of the ‘nurse’ title, adding that it has been working with the NMC and chief nursing officer for England Ruth May on exploring the use of protected titles as part of an ongoing review of healthcare professional regulation.

‘We will consider in detail whether the protection of title offences relating to registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates are the right ones when bringing forward reform of the NMC’s legal framework, following our consultation on the reform of all healthcare professional regulation,’ the statement reads.

Nurses urged to share petition which closes on 14 December

Consultation on this review closed on 16 June and its results are yet to be published.

Professor Leary said that while it is promising the government recognised the issue, nurses should continue to sign and share the petition, which is open until 14 December.

‘There are still a number of issues here, while the upcoming regulatory reform is a good opportunity there must be meaningful engagement with the public and profession to protect the public,’ she said.

Find out more

Petition: Protect the Title Nurse in UK law


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