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Protected nurse title: ‘petition put the issue on the agenda’

Despite not hitting its target for online signatures, the petition calling for protection in law has prompted the government to review the issue, says its author Alison Leary

Despite not hitting its target for online signatures, the petition calling for protection in law has prompted the government to review the issue, says its author Alison Leary

A petition to protect the title of nurse in law was ‘still a success’, says its author, despite falling short of the number of signatures required for it to be debated in parliament.

The petition , launched six months ago by Alison Leary , professor of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, called for the title of nurse to be used only by those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Professor Leary set up the petition in a private rather than professional capacity.

Despite not hitting its target for online signatures, the petition calling for protection in law has prompted the government to review the issue, says its author Alison Leary

Illustration showing hands up, indicating they are signing a petition
Picture: iStock

A petition to protect the title of nurse in law was ‘still a success’, says its author, despite falling short of the number of signatures required for it to be debated in parliament.

The petition, launched six months ago by Alison Leary, professor of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, called for the title of nurse to be used only by those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Professor Leary set up the petition in a private rather than professional capacity.

Petition closes with more than 33,000 signatures

It officially closed on 14 December with 33,488 signatures, not hitting the 100,000 required for it to be considered for debate in parliament.

Professor Leary said despite this the petition had the desired effect, as the motion is now being considered by the government in a Department of Health review.

‘We are really pleased to have had a great response to the petition,’ she told Nursing Standard. ‘We are not disappointed that the petition didn’t reach the goal of 100,000 signatures as it received a favourable response from the government at 10,000.

‘We are working with parliamentarians and the regulator to progress the issue of protecting the title of nurse and, even though the amendment to the health bill was voted down, work is going on in terms of amending the original legislation.’

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is currently reviewing the protection of titles as part of an ongoing review of the regulation of healthcare professionals.

Last month MPs rejected a proposed amendment to the Health and Care Bill tabled by Labour MP Dawn Butler that would have made ‘nurse’ a protected title.

The campaign for protection in law continues

Ms Butler told Nursing Standard the ‘battle is not over’ and that she would take the campaign to the House of Lords.

At present, the only protected titles in nursing are ‘registered nurse’, ‘specialist community public health nurse’, ‘nursing associate’ and ‘midwife’.

The DHSC said it would examine ‘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’.


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