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Protecting ‘nurse’ title in law moves a step closer to reality

Labour MP Dawn Butler tables bill amendment so that only NMC-registered nurses are legitimate

Labour MP Dawn Butler tables bill amendment so only Nursing and Midwifery Council-registered nurses are legitimate

The ongoing campaign to protect the title ‘nurse’ in law has taken a step closer to success.

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) can call themselves a nurse.

Using ‘nurse’ title unlawfully would become

Labour MP Dawn Butler tables bill amendment so only Nursing and Midwifery Council-registered nurses are legitimate

Labour MP Dawn Butler has tabled an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to protect the ‘nurse’ title
Labour MP Dawn Butler has tabled an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to protect the ‘nurse’ title Picture: Alamy

The ongoing campaign to protect the title ‘nurse’ in law has taken a step closer to success.

Labour MP Dawn Butler tabled an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill to ensure only those registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) can call themselves a nurse.

Using ‘nurse’ title unlawfully would become an offence if amendment is passed

Ms Butler said she was shocked the title could be abused by people who are not registered with the NMC.

‘This amendment is long overdue and will, I hope, show the nursing community just how much we respect and appreciate them in society,’ she said.

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

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.

Public need to know if they are being treated by registered nurses

Professor Leary told Nursing Standard the amendment was a ‘good step’ towards nurse being a protected title in legislation.

She said members of 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’.

‘At the moment, it doesn’t matter if they have been struck off or even if they have been convicted of a crime, they can call themselves a nurse,’ she said.

The amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill is set to be debated in parliament on 22 November.

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 nearly 32,000 signatures. If the petition 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 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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