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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Record number of nurses struck off
The UKCC regulates nursing in the UK
A record number of nurses were barred from practising last year by the national regulatory body.

Figures from the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) show that 96 people were struck off for misconduct in the year to the end of March 2000.

The UKCC also had to deal with more complaints than ever before.

Last year 1,142 complaints were received by the UKCC, compared to 1,077 in 1998, 1,032 in 1997 and 893 in 1996.

More than three-quarters - 77% - of nurses who came before the Professional Conduct Committee were struck off.

No action was taken in one case and the remaining 22% were cautioned by the committee.

Sue Norman
Sue Norman said efforts had been made to root out rogue nurses

Sue Norman, chief executive of the UKCC, said: "We have made particular efforts to ensure that people are aware of the UKCC and how they make a complaint against a practitioner.

"We have also worked with employers to help them identify those cases most likely to be considered misconduct."

She added: "The results have been more complaints. We are making strenuous efforts to speed up our processes and encourage those making complaints to bring forward evidence as quickly as possible."

it is important to also remember that the number of nurses removed from the register is an extremely tiny proportion

Helen Caulfield, Royal College of Nursing

Helen Caulfield, policy advisor at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "It is absolutely right that health professionals are struck off when necessary.

"Patients and their families increasingly feel they have the right, and are able, to raise concerns, which is a very positive trend.

"However, it is important to also remember that the number of nurses removed from the register is an extremely tiny proportion of the whole register."

Employers do not check

The role of the UKCC has been called into question by the revelation that a community nurse from Southend is under police investigation in connection with the deaths of 18 children.

NHS employers are supposed to check the registration and professional conduct history of nurses with the UKCC before they offer employment.

But the UKCC has revealed that up to a quarter of employers fail to do so.

Ms Norman said: "It is by no means universal that every employer checks with us.

"There are holes in the map of the UK - cold spots where we receive very few requests for checks."

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See also:

04 Jun 00 | Health
Call for NHS shake-up
17 Jan 00 | Health
Nurses welcome pay boost
05 Apr 00 | Health
Nurses' powers to be increased
04 Apr 00 | Health
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