Single nursing body wins warm welcome

February 12, 1999

Nurse educators this week welcomed the government's decision to scrap the nurses' disciplinary body, the United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC), and the four national boards that oversee nurse education.

They will be replaced with a single UK-wide body to regulate the profession.

Tony Butterworth, dean of the nursing faculty at Manchester University, said: "The overriding aim of regulation is the protection of the public. We have long thought this could be done in a more streamlined way."

The UKCC is responsible for establishing broad standards of nurse education and professional conduct, but it has been up to the four national boards to approve university nursing courses and ensure they meet UKCC training requirements.

Jim Port, managing director of JM Consulting, which undertook the independent review of the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act that led to the changes, said: "The main thrust is to get a more coherent, integrated system."

Mr Port added: "We see no reason why the quality assurance of nursing could not become part of the main higher education assessment process, as long as there is provision to assess practical skills and integration of theory and practice."

* Professor Butterworth said he was given assurances this week by health secretary Frank Dobson that there were no plans to move nurse training out of higher education.

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