Nursing and Midwifery Council News

Education & Societies

National Guardian for speaking up within the NHS

Dame Eileen Sills, Chief  Nurse and. Director of Patient Experience and Infection Control, has also taken on the role of Whistleblowing National Guardian on a two-day a week basis.

In order to undertake both roles, Dame Eileen has stepped down from her role as Senior Nurse Advisor to the NMC.

Responding to her departure,  NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith said:

"Congratulations to Dame Eileen on her new role as the first National Guardian for the freedom to speak within the NHS. It is important that health services support nurses and midwives to speak up when they have concerns and I’m sure her high quality leadership will result in safer, better patient care.

"I would like to thank Dame Eileen for all her hard work and the contribution she has made here at the NMC in her role as Senior Nurse Advisor. She brought with her valuable knowledge and expertise as a leader in nursing and midwifery.

"We will be announcing her replacement in due course."

NMC responds to announcement of new nursing associate role

In response to the staffing crisis, a new associate nurse role has been proposed (

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Jackie Smith, said:

"The introduction of this new role is an important development for the nursing profession and as the regulator for nursing and midwifery we will be carefully considering our role moving forward.

"The starting point for any new role in healthcare has to be its contribution to improving patient safety and quality and as such there will be some important considerations, including whether nursing associates should be regulated.

"It is for the government to determine the policy position in discussion with others, but while we are supportive of widening access into the nursing profession, it will be important that any new routes into the profession have the same robust approach that the existing university degree route provides. As the Minister rightly points out, an apprenticeship in nursing as a route to eventual registered nurse status must 'have complete equality of both esteem and rigour' as a degree.

"We will be responding fully to the consultation and look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and Health Education England on this important issue."

Revalidation - updated guidance and key documents

The NMC have published revised versions of the following documents:

The most notable change  concerns the advice surrounding the electronic storage of the reflective discussion and confirmation forms. The Information Commissioner's Office  have now updated their advice for nurses and midwives; this has been reflected in the updated advice in "How to revalidate with the NMC" as follows:

Your reflective discussion form and confirmation form contain personal data about another person. This means that there are data protection implications for nurses and midwives completing these forms. However, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recognises that it would be highly disproportionate to expect nurses and midwives to have to register with them as data controllers. The ICO has confirmed that it is not planning to take any action against any nurse or midwife for failing to register. You may choose to store your completed reflective discussion and confirmation forms in either paper or electronic format. You should still respect the fact that these forms contain personal data about your reflective discussion partner and confirmer.

While it is important that nurses, midwives and employers always look at the latest version of the guidance, there has been no change to the model of revalidation. The changes we have made will simply provide clarity around certain areas.