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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced it is ready to approve its new standards of proficiency for future specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN) – including standards for health visiting, community nursing specialist practice qualifications (SPQs) and associated programme standards. Alongside representatives from all professional bodies, the iHV has worked closely with the NMC over the last two and a half years as part of their collaborative programme of work to develop the new post-registration standards.

The NMC states that:

“The new standards are intended to reflect the changing landscape and ambition for the care and treatment of people in the community. The new standards are an opportunity for more professionals to develop a greater depth of knowledge and broader skills that really reflect the complexity, responsibility and diversity of modern community nursing and public health nursing practice”.

The iHV also contributed to the consultation of the draft standards which ran from April to August 2021 and received 2,363 responses – including from nurses, health visitors, members of the public and organisations. The NMC highlighted that the responses were ‘predominantly positive’ with a ‘small number of suggested improvements’ required.

The NMC has refined the SCPHN standards and has made a prescribing qualification optional, as well as strengthening aspects around mental health, wellbeing, leading services, managing risk, safeguarding, infant nutrition, and cultural competence.

The final draft standards have now been agreed and will be taken before the NMC’s governing council for approval on 26 May. The papers ahead of the meeting of the Council on 26 May can be found here.

The finalised standards are expected to be published in the next few weeks. The NMC is also seeking approval from Council to consult on proposed changes to our pre-registration education programme standards. These standards ensure that nursing and midwifery programmes support students to learn and achieve the knowledge and skills that they’ll need to become registered professionals, and to deliver safe, effective and kind care.

Professor Geraldine Walters, Executive Director of professional practice at the NMC, said:

“These new co-produced post-registration standards will give professionals the additional knowledge, skills, and aptitude they need to provide specialist support and care to people in their homes and in the community. Council approval of the standards would mark a significant milestone toward more modern, effective care for people in community settings and improved public health for our wider communities.”