Nurses who ‘depart from procedures’ to combat Coronavirus will be supported, say regulators

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has released a joint statement.

Kizzy Bass
13 March 2020
nursing and midwifery council

Staff may have to make difficult decisions in treating patients throughout this pandemic.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has released a joint statement with the Chief Executives of the statutory regulators of health and care professionals in relation to Coronavirus and how they will continue to regulate during this outbreak.

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The statement has agreed between General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, Scottish Social Services Council and Social Work England.

This statement covers how these governing bodies will deal with staff members who have to make difficult decisions in treating patients throughout this pandemic.

The joint statement from Chief Executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals states: “We hold the registers of health and care professionals in the UK. We support those professionals to deliver better, safer care by setting the standards they need to meet, to act in the best interests of patients and people who use health and social care services at all times.

“As registered professionals, the first concern of the individuals on our registers will be the care of their patients and people who use health and social care services. We encourage health and care professionals, working in partnership with each other and people using services, to use their professional judgement to assess risk to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in their professional standards.

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“We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, professionals may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services. Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations. They support professionals by highlighting the key principles which should be followed, including the need to work cooperatively with colleagues to keep people safe, to practise in line with the best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their practice.

“We recognise that the individuals on our registers may feel anxious about how context is taken into account when concerns are raised about their decisions and actions in very challenging circumstances. Where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working. We would also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.

“We may issue profession specific guidance to registrants to provide additional support where that is needed.”

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