The controversial TV programme Nurseries Undercover has reinforced the need for the UK’s estimated 60,000 nursery nurses to be properly regulated.
The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), which has qualified nursery nurses in its membership, made the call after the BBC programme catalogued a series of incidents of verbal and emotional abuse by apparently unqualified and unsupervised staff.
The CPHVA said the programme revealed ‘shoddy and shameful practices’ against toddlers unable to speak for themselves.
The CPHVA’s director, Mark Jones said: ‘There are thousands of well-trained, caring and reputable nursery nurses who would have been horrified by this broadcast.’
Mark Jones said that two lessons should be learnt from the programme:
Ofsted, the regulatory body for nurseries, should introduce ‘spot checks’ immediately on premises and staff and, not, as now, give advance notice of inspection visits.
Mark Jones said: ‘We would like to see nursery nurses eventually registered with the NMC in partnership with the Health Professions Council . This would reassure parents that their child is being looked after by nursery nurses who were properly trained and who were also answerable for their actions to a professional body.’
Mark Jones said that the CPHVA had drawn up its own voluntary Code of Conduct for nursery nurses.
He said: ‘With more and more women going out to work and the increased pressures of juggling the balance between home and work, they need to have complete faith that their children are being properly cared for.’