- 17 January 2022
- 5 min read
Will Missed CPD Time Mean Revalidation Uncertainty?Subscribe To Advice
With 10% of NHS workers isolating or off work, there is huge pressure on remaining staff to meet both the existing workload and a growing patient backlog.
Given this extra workload, how likely is it that Nurses who have spent recent months firefighting and covering absences, will have missed out on CPD opportunities and consequently have their revalidation put at risk?
In December 2021, 125 Social Workers were removed from the Social Work register in England for failing to submit CPD before the final deadline to renew registration, despite an official extension period. 256 social workers were also taken off the register for this reason during the previous year.
Social Work England emphasised that there would be no extension period in 2022 and recommended Social Workers submit CPD regularly.
Do Nurses, due to the staff shortages and the need to provide increasing levels of cover, run a similar risk of missing deadlines for CPD and subsequently jeopardising their revalidation?
Between December 2021 and January 2022, the number of NHS staff off work because of Covid-19 more than trebled, rising from 12,596 to 39,142.
The most recent figures from NHS England, from 2nd January 2022, show a total of 82,384 absences.
Of those, 39,142 absences were due to Covid-19 sickness or isolation – an increase of 59% on the previous week.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said the NHS is having to cope with “significant” staff absences.
“We are already seeing NHS staff shortages in hotspots like London, with worrying increases in the number of staff having to take time off work due to Covid-19 self-isolation or sickness,” she explained.
As COVID case numbers start to decline, do you think that increased patient backlogs will result in sufficient CPD time for Nurses being treated as a secondary priority for the immediate future?
All Nurses are required to complete 35 hours of CPD every three years to revalidate. CPD is a critical part of maintaining registration with the NMC.
The NMC initially allowed a 24-week extension for those Nurses due to revalidate between November and December 2020.
An extra 12 weeks was given to Nurses seeking revalidation in January, February, and March 2021. From April 2021, Nurses have been able to request an eight-week extension to their revalidation deadline if required.
Should the NMC keep a contingency open for a more widespread extension once the effects of the latest COVID wave are fully realised in the coming weeks and months?
Of Nurses who responded to a Nursing Standard survey in June 2020, over three quarters declared that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused their training and development to become disrupted.
Over half (55%) of the 2,026 people surveyed about continuing professional development (CPD) stated they did not undertake any CPD during the COVID-19 peak, with 22% revealing they undertook less than they would normally during the same period.
Against the backdrop of tackling the pandemic and the imposition of lockdowns and social restrictions, the survey found that Nurses had been affected by having study days, face-to-face training and conferences cancelled.
RCN professional lead for education Gill Coverdale said confusion about what counted as CPD, as well as changes to working patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had left some Nurses worried about their revalidation.
Is there anything that the RCN, along with the NMC and other nursing bodies can do to mitigate the impact of all that lost CPD time? Will the demand on Nurses as the health service moves out of ‘pandemic mode’ mean that on the ground, no extra time or support will be available?
On a related issue, both the RCN and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), have cautioned that mandating vaccination for all patient-facing NHS staff by 1 April could worsen existing staff shortages.
“To dismiss valued nursing staff during this crisis would be an act of self-sabotage" opined Pat Cullen, General Secretary and Chief Executive of the RCN.
Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s England director, cautioned that if staff absence levels continue to rise, it could be "catastrophic".
"The workforce is already short, the workforce is already exhausted - mentally and physically - so the prospect of that must fill everyone on the frontline, and the public, with real concern," she said.
Do you expect the government to push ahead with compulsory vaccination for NHS workers by April 2022, combining the resultant loss of staff from that measure with potentially thousands of Nurses leaving the NMC Register due to their inability to successfully revalidate?
There is one positive aspect to be cognisant of, however. The NMC Annual Reports survey the numbers of Nurses leaving the Register. In the UK, despite ‘significant’ reductions to CPD funding being reported to the House of Commons Health Committee in 2017-2019, the percentage of survey respondents citing concerns about meeting revalidation requirements as their reason for leaving fell from 19% to 13.8% between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
What do you think will happen to the numbers of Nurses leaving the profession in the year 2021-22? Do you expect the impact of COVID and associated policy to show in increasing numbers leaving the NMC Register because of revalidation issues?
Please let us know what you think in the comments. If you are a Nurse who feels they have not been able to undertake CPD due to the pandemic and having to cover colleague absences, we would love to hear from you.
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