Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, strongly supports the call for retired nurses, those who have left the register and students in the last stages of their undergraduate training to volunteer for the fight against the coronavirus.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), chief nursing officers of the four UK countries, and the Council of Deans of Health as well as health trade unions issued the call today (Thursday 19 March).

The two key requests are for:

  • Nurses and midwives who had left the profession in the last three years to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Covid-19 temporary emergency register so they can return to practice

  • For students in the final six months of their undergraduate course to work under supervision in hospitals wards and other parts of the NHS. 

Unite lead officer for regulation Jane Beach said: “We are facing the worst public health emergency in the UK since the ‘Spanish’ flu at the end of the First World War. This is the supreme public health battle of our generation.

 “Unprecedented events demand flexible and rapid responses, that’s why we are strongly supporting this call by the chief nursing officers of the four UK countries, the NMC and the health trade unions. 

 “We know that making changes to the way student nurses are educated in the last few months is an extreme measure, but we believe it is commensurate with the challenge we, as a society, face and so is the right thing to do. 

 “We thank our student nurse members for their feedback, which has informed our response to the discussions.

 “We will be communicating with our members who have recently retired or left nursing to encourage them to consider coming back to help out during this national emergency.

 “It is important to stress that for all, this is a choice. The detail will be in the guidance and we will continue to be involved in the development of this and in monitoring the implementation.”

 ENDS

Notes to editors:

The NMC has published the attached final joint statements and they are linked to its website which can accessed here www.nmc.org.uk/covid19

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org  

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.