Joint Letter to NMC Calls for Urgent Rethink in Specialist Practice Review
15 March 2021
The Queen’s Nursing Institute is one of eight organisations that have written to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to ask for an urgent rethink of the Review of post-registration standards.
The letter (full text below) calls into question whether the NMC has acted on the report by consultants Pye Tait, dated 27 November 2020. The Pye Tait report is a thorough analysis of the themes raised during 2020 at stakeholder engagement meetings. The letter asks whether the Pye Tait findings – and therefore stakeholders’ views – have been taken into account in the NMC’s Review.
The letter expresses concern that the pre-consultation engagement process has not identified any field-specific (or ‘bespoke’) standards of proficiency to underpin the distinct differences in the knowledge and skills within each Specialist Practitioner Qualification. The NMC states that it intends to focus on common standards for all community specialisms, ‘with bespoke elements where needed.’
However, detailed analysis of the Pye Tait report, which is informed by the views of all stakeholders who participated in the engagement phase, shows that it contains reference to 27 field-specific standards. Mapped to the four countries of the UK, these would form the basis for standards of proficiency for each of the five Specialist Practitioner Qualifications.
The 12 signatories to the letter represent the The Association of Academic General Practice Nurse Educators, The Association of District Nurse and Community Nurse Educators, The Community Nurse Executive Network, The District Nurse Apprenticeship Standard Trailblazer Group, The National District Nurse Network, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, and the Royal College of Nursing.
The letter also asks for a postponement of the NMC’s full public consultation, given the immense pressures being faced by nursing staff in the community due to the impact of the pandemic.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is undertaking a review of its post-registration standards, affecting the five existing Community Specialist Practitioner Qualifications (SPQs) and three fields of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing.
A Steering Group involving a range of stakeholders was convened in Autumn 2019 to advise the work and continued to meet throughout 2020. In autumn 2020, the NMC agreed to retain annotation on the NMC Register for the existing five Specialist Practitioner Qualifications.
The NMC commissioned a report by consultants Pye Tait to analyse and summarise themes arising from the engagement process in 2020. However, it is unclear that the Pye Tait report has been taken into account in the NMC’s continuing review.
The signatories to the letter to the NMC are experts in nursing in the community and support the development of field-specific (or ‘bespoke’) standards of proficiency, supported by the evidence in the Pye Tait review, in addition to the core standards. Without these field-specific standards, there is a significant risk to patient safety. Specific nursing knowledge, leading to the annotated Specialist Practitioner Qualifications, will not be retained and advanced, undermining continued professional development in complex and rapidly evolving areas of healthcare, delivered in autonomous, nurse-led services. This would be to the very real detriment of patients, families and communities.
The joint letter has been copied to the Chief Nursing Officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Notes to Editors:
The NMC Consultation can be found here:
QNI Media Contact:
Matthew Bradby, Head of Communications 07985 169471 [email protected]