- I have a live registration with NMC, I am not currently in a clinical role, but I would like to help. How can I re-join the health and social care workforce?
The first step is to register your interest here at the Department of Health in Northern Ireland HSC Workforce Appeal.
- I am no longer on the NMC register – how do I return?
If you have left the professional register within the last three years the NMC has been given legislative powers to put in place an expedited process to return you to the register. If you consider that you may not be fit for direct contact/caring roles, there will likely be a variety of other opportunities available, such as telephone triage and other supporting other non-direct contact duties.
If you have not been contacted about your re-registration and feel you should have been, please refer to https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/
- Is it mandatory to rejoin the register and return to work?
This process is completely voluntary. Wherever and however you can help, you are needed, and we will be extremely grateful for any support that you are able to offer. If you do not wish to re-register it is not mandatory to do so. If for whatever reason you do not want to join the temporary register, you do not need to take any action and your details will not be shared. Choosing not to join the temporary register will not be detrimental to future employment or career opportunities to those who may choose not to do so.
- Do I need to do anything to re-register with the NMC?
We greatly appreciate the time and effort that you have already given to the health and social care system in NI and have put everything in place to ensure re-joining is easy and safe for you. The correspondence you will have received from NMC provides a link to confirm your wish to join the temporary register.
The emergency registration legislation waives the usual registration requirements if you are joining the temporary register.
- When does my temporary re-registration come into effect?
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has declared a state of emergency, and the temporary register came into effect on 27 March 2020. When you inform NMC that you would be willing to join the temporary register and have completed the form, NMC will pass your details on to the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. DoH NI are working with local employers about how best to deploy the emergency workforce. You will be contacted by through the HSC Workforce Appeal processes.
- If I decide I want to remain on the register with the intention of returning to work, what training and support will I be offered?
When you have indicated your wish to return to practice, and the temporary register comes into force, you will be contacted about where you might be able to work and when you would like to work. Relevant training, which will include skills training and local induction will be provided.
You should only practice in areas that you feel competent and safe to do so, and raise concerns with a manager or supervisor if you feel you are being asked to perform duties that are outside of your competency. You should be given adequate supervision and support from managers and other colleagues, and clinical governance arrangements will continue to be in place. You should have regard to your professional Code which will support your professional practice and accountability.
- Will I be expected to have an appraisal or undergo professional revalidation?
No, this will not be necessary under these circumstances.
- Will I get paid and how will this be agreed?
Yes, you will be remunerated for any work you do in a way that reflects the responsibilities you undertake.
- What about my pension?
This has been addressed in the emergency legislation; joining the temporary register and returning to work will not affect your pension.
- Will I have a contract and how many hours can I work?
Yes, you will be offered a contract that reflects normal working conditions. You will discuss the hours that you are available for work with your employer.
- Where can I work?
Where possible, you will be offered work at an organisation where you have worked before or are already linked with. There might be some occasions where you might be asked to consider moving to a different area to cover local needs. This will be in accordance with your identified skills and competencies and will be discussed with you.
- What if I’m concerned about my health or am a primary carer?
Given the increased risk of COVID-19 in those noted as vulnerable groups, you will need to consider if returning to direct contact clinical work is suitable for you. There are a range of opportunities you may wish to consider in non-direct contact roles that may be more suited. These can be discussed in more detail as part of your offer of employment. For more information on vulnerable groups please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults.
- I’m concerned about my accountability as a returning registrant, where can I seek advice?
We acknowledge that you may be anxious about returning to practice especially in these unprecedented circumstances. To see up to date information regarding the NMC standards for practice for all registrants please visit their website here. Please be assured that where a concern is raised about a registered professional, the NMC will always consider the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the context and environment in which the professional is working. The NMC will also take account of any relevant information about resources, guidelines, or protocols in place at the time.
The Joint Statement made by all the regulators is available at https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/.
- I’ve accepted temporary registration, what happens next?
Once the temporary register comes into force, with your permission, your contact details will be passed on to the teams working within your local area so that they can begin discussing a return to work with you.
- What sort of work might I be expected to do?
Your role will be very much dependent upon your expertise and skills, what you feel comfortable doing and the need within your local area. There are a range of different roles that you might want to consider, these include (but aren’t limited to): working on wards or in care homes, helping with outpatient clinics, providing education or training to other clinicians, providing routine clinical cover or non-direct contact roles.
In these challenging circumstances it is recognised that as clinicians you may be asked to work outside your normal field of practice. The regulators have published a joint statement to explain this, to support you which you can access here.
- Will I have insurance and indemnity cover?
Yes, the usual employment indemnity conditions will apply.
- When does my temporary registration finish?
You will no longer be registered when the temporary register ceases. This is when the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care declares the emergency conditions no longer exist. Should you wish to continue to work and be permanently registered with the NMC, you should contact them directly.
- What if I change my mind and I don’t want to work anymore?
You are free to change your mind at any time. If you change your mind and don't want to work anymore you should give the appropriate notice to your line manager and arrange for the appropriate steps to be taken for you to leave work safely.
- What if I become ill when I am working or concerned that I may have coronavirus?
If you become ill while working, local policy and national guidance must be followed to ensure your safety and the safety of others. You should immediately inform your line manager and withdraw from work. If you have concerns regarding COVID-19 please follow the guidance available from the Public Health Agency or NHS111.
- Will I need to complete an AccessNI Enhanced Disclosure?
Yes, you will need to follow AccessNI Enhanced Disclosure requirements. More details on what is required will be available in due course.
If you wish to register your support please visit the following Workforce Appeal webpage -https://www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk/
For further information, advice or support the following may be of interest:
- Public Health Agency
- NHS111 coronavirus guidance
- NMC Overview
- NMC joint Statement from Chief Executives of Statutory regulators of Health and Care Professionals
- NMC Frequently Asked Questions
- Royal College of Midwives – Coronavirus – what you need to know
- RCN Information about expanding the workforce
- RCN Covid-19 Information for members
- Council of Deans for Health – Response to Coronavirus
- Unison: your rights at work (coronavirus)
- National Care Forum – Coronavirus Resources
- Public Health England – Coronavirus Resources