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Nurses who go on strike won’t face action by NMC

As thousands take part in ballots on pay offer, regulator says nurses have a right to take industrial action and won’t face fitness to practise cases if they do
Brass wall plate showing the name of the NMC

As thousands take part in ballots on pay offer, regulator says nurses have a right to take industrial action and won’t face fitness to practise cases if they do

Nurses who take part in industrial action, including a strike, will not face the threat of fitness to practise (FtP) action, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed.

Hundreds of thousands of nurses working in the NHS around the UK will be balloted by unions, including the RCN, Unison and GMB, in response to a 4% pay offer from the government branded a ‘national disgrace’ by the RCN.

In response to growing discussions around industrial action the

As thousands take part in ballots on pay offer, regulator says nurses have a right to take industrial action and won’t face fitness to practise cases if they do

Brass wall plate showing the name of the NMC
Picture: Charles Milligan

Nurses who take part in industrial action, including a strike, will not face the threat of fitness to practise (FtP) action, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed.

Hundreds of thousands of nurses working in the NHS around the UK will be balloted by unions, including the RCN, Unison and GMB, in response to a 4% pay offer from the government branded a ‘national disgrace’ by the RCN.

In response to growing discussions around industrial action the NMC has confirmed nurses and nursing associates have the right to take part in strike action.

Code on professional standards of practice and behaviour would continue to apply during industrial action

The regulator added that its Code on professional standards of practice and behaviour would continue to apply to nursing professionals on strike and ‘behaviours that the public has a right to expect from their nurses, midwives and nursing associates continue to apply’.

It advised nurses to follow the advice of their trade union if and when they take part in industrial action.

In a step to reassure nurses who continue to work in the event of industrial action and are concerned about the impact short staffing may have on their ability to do their job effectively, the NMC said it would ‘take account of context’ if a nurse was the subject of an FtP referral during that time.

Apparent poor individual practice can actually be caused by pressures on health and care system, NMC says

The regulator said in a statement: ‘Health and social care settings are complex, so concerns that may appear to be the result of poor individual practice can actually be caused by pressures on the health and care system they work in. That’s why our approach to fitness to practise ensures we take account of context when reviewing concerns.’

Nursing students are also allowed to strike but should take advice from their unions and speak to their education provider about any missed placements that result.

Under the government’s latest pay offer, NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in England would receive a pay rise of 4% or at least £1,400 in 2022-23. The RCN has been campaigning for a fully funded increase of 5% above inflation – which is at record levels – to ‘combat years of wage stagnation and the cost-of-living crisis’.


Find out more

NMC (2022) Our position on industrial action

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