Nurses are celebrating a government decision to shelve the controversial vetting and barring scheme. The Royal College of Nursing had lined up with author Philip Pullman in condemning the scheme which would have given wide-ranging powers to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
The RCN said the ISA was seeking to duplicate the powers of other regulators – without putting in place safeguards against false allegations. It had already notified home secretary Theresa May that it would challenge the new rules in the courts. Ms May said yesterday: “All sorts of groups out there were deeply concerned about this and how it was going to affect them. “There were schools where they were very concerned that foreign exchanges could be finished as a result of this, parents were worried about looking after other people’s children after school.”
RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “Nursing staff believe the protection of children and vulnerable people is of the paramount importance. However, the RCN has repeatedly reiterated nurses’ serious concerns about the potential unfairness of the barring process and appeal procedures. “As it stands there is an apparent duplication with other healthcare regulators and no adequate safeguards against ill-founded allegations, which could leave nursing staff
disproportionately barred for 10 years for less serious disciplinary offences, and with no effective right of appeal.”