The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed when its temporary Covid-19 register will close.

The Covid-19 emergency temporary register, set up in March 2020 to help fill workforce gaps during the pandemic, allowed former and some internationally-qualified nurses to practise as registered nurses in the UK.

“The height of the pandemic was a frightening time for us all”

Andrea Sutcliffe

It stopped taking on new registrants in March 2022, when temporary Covid-19 legislation expired, but was to remain open on request by the UK Government for another two years.

Now, the regulator has announced that professionals on the temporary register can practise until the end of March 2024. After that point, they must either join the permanent register or cease practising.

As of 13 September 2023, there were 1,446 nursing and midwifery professionals on the temporary register, down from 13,088 in September 2022, and 14,630 in 2021.

An NMC spokesperson said the regulator was writing to all temporary registrants to inform them of the next steps.

NMC chief executive and registrar Andrea Sutcliffe said the organisation remained “incredibly proud” of people who joined the temporary register.

“The height of the pandemic was a frightening time for us all,” said Ms Sutcliffe.

“But thousands of professionals stepped forward to help support essential health and care services.

“They have made a vital difference to people’s lives and we’re immensely grateful for their contribution, particularly in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

Ms Sutcliffe added that those who wished to continue practising would be supported in transitioning to the permanent register.

The NMC amended its rules on who could remain on the register earlier this year, to remove those who had not practised for a long time, and internationally-trained nurses not progressing a permanent register application.

These registrants were removed from February 2023 onwards, and the regulator mandated that all of those who remained on the temporary register had to undertake continuing professional development and training.

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