Proposed new council met with approval and caution

Document on new nursing council suggests greater
disciplinary powers but larger financial burden


The Government has published the consultation document on
the new nursing and midwifery council which will replace the UKCC and the
National Boards.


Key objectives outlined are to reform ways of working and to
change the structure and functions of the current bodies.


The new council will be required to "treat the health
and welfare of patients as paramount; to collaborate and consult with key
stakeholders; and to be open and pro-active in accounting to the public and the
professions for its work".


The main proposals laid out in the document are largely as
expected. It will be a much smaller body than the present 60-strong UKCC, to be
made up of 12 directly elected practitioners with 11 lay members.


The new nursing and midwifery council will be given wider
powers than the UKCC to deal with any members presenting "unacceptable
risks" to patients – and it will clearly be expected to use those powers


The document also highlights the future emphasis on Prep:
there will be a much stronger link than at present between continuing
professional development and the renewal of registration.


Sue Norman, UKCC chief executive/registrar, said: "When
the council looks at the proposals, it will test them against two key
questions: do they enhance public protection and what will be the financial
cost to nurses, midwives and health visitors?


"We strongly support many of the proposals, such as the
expansion of public involvement in the new council, greater openness, more
options for conduct committees and bigger fines for bogus practitioners.


"However, the additional steps in the disciplinary process
do beg questions about the balance between public protection and fairness to


"They also suggest the system will be far more
expensive to manage than at present and, therefore, the financial burden being
placed on those on the register will be that much greater."

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