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NMC works with Employers and the Ministry of Defence to Support UK Practitioners on Active Service

Nurses, midwives and health visitors on active service as part of the Iraq conflict need not be worried about their registration lapsing while they are fulfilling their duties abroad, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said today.

The UK regulator has written to employers and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to ensure the registration of personnel on active service associated with the Iraq conflict is not lapsed.

There are approximately 1400 NMC-registered practitioners working in the armed services and a further 1500 in the Territorial Army. It is unclear to the NMC how many of these have been deployed in the Gulf.

Under normal circumstances, a practitioner's registration would be lapsed if it wasn't renewed on time at three-yearly intervals. While only a small proportion of nurses are being deployed as part of the Iraq conflict, it is important to ensure that their registrations do not lapse while they are on service in a war zone. Practitioners are being urged to make arrangements for renewal documents to be forwarded to them so that they can retain effective registration. In addition, the NMC is working with the MoD and employers to try to compile a list of practitioners likely to be affected.

The NMC's Chief Executive and Registrar, Sarah Thewlis, said the NMC Rules allow her to extend registration by three months in special circumstances.

"I intend to use this discretion for any practitioner who is unable to complete their renewal because they are serving in a war zone. We want to support practitioners on active service by urging them to plan ahead and offering this flexibility, so they are able to concentrate on the duty at hand, rather than worrying whether they will remain licensed to practise."

Any military personnel who have concerns about their registration renewal should contact the NMC on 020 7333 6601 or via email to [email protected]

For media enquiries, please contact Kirsty O'Brien on 020 7333 6557 or Stuart Skyte on 020 7333 6558.
Press statement 28/03
20 March 2003