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Closed petition Protect the title Nurse in UK law

The term nurse can be used by anyone in the UK. They can use this term to offer professional advice and services even if they have no nursing qualifications, experience or have been struck off a professional register.

More details

To protect the public, the title nurse should be limited to those who are registered with professional regulators such as Registered Nurses and Dental Nurses.

This would be the same as titles such as paramedic and physiotherapist, which are limited to those on the professional registers.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

33,486 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 1 July 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care is reviewing the protection of titles as part of the ongoing government review of the regulation of healthcare professionals.

Read the response in full

The protection of a professional titles is important for public protection. Protecting a title provides assurance to the public that someone using that title is competent and safe to practise.

In order to ensure that only an individual who is registered with a regulator can use a protected title, it is an offence for a person to use a title they are not legally permitted to use or to otherwise hold themselves out to be a regulated professional.

Although ‘registered nurse’ is a protected title, ‘nurse’ is currently not a protected title. The Government is aware of the concerns which this generates, along with the complications associated with protecting the nurse title given that it is used in multiple professions (e.g. registered nurses, dental nurses, school nurses and veterinary nurses).

On 24th March 2021 the Government published Regulating Healthcare Professionals, Protecting the Public; (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/regulating-healthcare-professionals-protecting-the-public) a consultation setting out detailed policy proposals for reforming the legislation of healthcare regulators

In collaboration with policy colleagues from the professional regulators, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), as the regulator of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, officials from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer for England have been exploring the issue of protected titles as part of the ongoing government review of professional regulation.

We will consider in detail whether the protection of title offences relating to registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates are the right ones when bringing forward reform of the NMC’s legal framework, following our consultation on the reform of all healthcare professional regulation.

Department of Health and Social Care