Changes to the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 – Will They Impact You?


The legislation that governs the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) is the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 (the 2011 Act). It sets out what the role of NMBI is and how it carries out its work in the areas of registration, education standards, professional guidance, and the management of complaints in relation to nurses and midwives. The objectives of NMBI are to protect the public in its dealings with nurses and midwives and to uphold high standards of professional education, training, practice and conduct among nurses and midwives.

The Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Act 2020 (the 2020 Act) was signed into law on the 14 October 2020. Sections 143 – 185 of the 2020 Act are applicable to NMBI. These sections do not take effect until the Minister commences the different sections. This may not happen all at the same time. Work has commenced in NMBI to prepare for this.

Most changes to the 2011 Act relate to the registration and fitness to practise processes. Positively, there are some procedural changes that will make NMBI processes more efficient and cost effective.



The new legislation will allow us to send annual renewal notifications (requesting payment of the Annual Retention Fee) to registrants by email rather than by post as is legally required now. This will significantly reduce the amount of postage and printing and it may also be more convenient for many registrants.

Another key change is that registrants will be required to make an annual declaration at renewal of registration.  These declarations will relate to pending or ongoing proceedings (disciplinary or criminal) either in Ireland or abroad.


Fitness to Practise

Some of the key changes that will affect the fitness to practise process:

  • The initial screening of complaints, to decide if a complaint moves to an inquiry or not, should happen more quickly.
  • Frivolous and vexatious complaints or complaints made in bad faith may be screened out at an earlier stage of the process.
  • At the screening stage, some complaints may be dealt with by the registrant consenting to be censured or undertaking not to repeat the conduct that gave rise to the complaint or to undertake a particular educational course.
  • In some cases, a registrant who is the subject of a complaint may, with the agreement of the Board, voluntarily come off the Register. If this happens, they may never come back on the Register.
  • Fitness to practise inquiries will be heard by three members of the Fitness to Practise Committee, rather than five members as currently happens. This should speed up the scheduling of cases. The three members will be a nurse or a midwife (depending on the case) and two lay members. 
  • Currently, if there are findings made against a registrant and a sanction of an advice or an admonishment is imposed, then the outcome of the case cannot be published. This will change and publication can occur.

As changes to the 2011 Act take effect, the details will be publicised on the website and in the ezine.


The Acts can be found at:

2011 Act

2020 Act


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In this issue
On the Occasion of our Director of Regulation’s Retirement: CEO, Sheila McClelland Shares her Best Wishes; Ursula Byrne Shares her Story
Renewing your Registration for 2021 - MyNMBI Accepting Annual Renewals from 30 November
Public Consultation on Draft Nurses and Midwives (Fitness to Practise Subcommittee) Rules 2020
Changes to the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 – Will They Impact You?
November Spotlight - Orla Coleman, Director of Nursing at St Lukes Charity and Home, Castle Road, Mahon, Blackrock, Cork
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