Revalidation: sharp rise in NMC registrants failing to meet CPD requirements

Nurses and midwives report lack of time for continuing professional development
nurse doing paperwork

Nurses and midwives report lack of time for continuing professional development

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The number of nurses who did not meet continued professional training (CPD) requirements for revalidation went up by almost 50% in 2017-18.

A total of 114 nurses failed to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC's) CPD threshold for revalidation in the year to March, according to the regulator’s annual revalidation report. The number for 2016-17 was 77 nurses.

The NMC requires registrants to undertake at least 35 hours of CPD every three years.

Reasons for failure to revalidate

The registration of 6,916 nurses ended in 2017-18. While most attrition was for reasons such as retirement, illness or death, 439 registrants failed to achieve revalidation requirements. In addition to CPD, these unmet requirements included health and character declarations, adequate practice hours, practice-related feedback or reflective accounts.

A total of 191,714 nurses revalidated in 2017-18, according to the NMC.

An independent evaluation of the NMC’s revalidation process by consultant Ipsos MORI, published with the annual report, said many nurses and midwives have had difficulty finding time for CPD.

According to the evaluation, 42% of registrants who revalidated in 2017-18 said finding time for CPD was difficult. This is a slight improvement on those who revalidated in the previous year, when 44% of registrants reported problems.

Ispos MORI’s evaluation findings

Registrants reporting greatest difficulty accessing CPD included:

  • Those aged 25-34 years
  • Men
  • People from Asian backgrounds
  • Those with disabilities or long-term health conditions

There were some signs that access to CPD is improving: 47% of registrants who revalidated last year said their employer gave them time to undertake external CPD, compared to 37% the previous year.


Earlier this year, the RCN raised the alarm about nurses not having time for CPD, stating members were increasingly forced to abandon professional development because of work pressures caused by staff shortages.

RCN head of professional learning and development Anne Corrin said the profession still needs greater support to complete CPD.

‘We can’t ignore the fact cuts to CPD budgets have left many nurses concerned about their ability to stay up to date, and advance their careers,’ she said.

‘Maintaining and improving practice is ultimately a patient safety issue. Policymakers and employers must find a way to fund training, and guarantee time to learn.’

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