Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1979 c. 36


Nurses, Midwives andHealth Visitors Act 1979

1979 CHAPTER 36

An Act to establish a Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, and National Boards for the four parts of the United Kingdom; to make new provision with respect to the education, training, regulation and discipline of nurses, midwives and health visitors and the maintenance of a single professional register; to amend an Act relating to the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work; and for purposes connected with those matters.

[4th April 1979]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

The Central Council

The Central Council

S-1 Constitution of Central Council.

1 Constitution of Central Council.

(1) There shall be a corporate body known as the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.

(2) The Council shall consist of the number of members, being not more than 45, prescribed by the Secretary of State by order.

(3) Of the members of the Council—

(a ) the majority shall be members of the National Boards established by section 5 below and be nominated by the Boards (in equal numbers) in accordance with Part I of Schedule 1 to this Act; and

(b ) the other members shall be persons appointed by the Secretary of State.

(4) The Secretary of State's appointments shall be made from among persons who either are nurses, midwives, health visitors or registered medical practitioners, or have such qualifications and experience in education or other fields as, in the Secretary of State's opinion, will be of value to the Council in the performance of its functions.

(5) The Secretary of State shall have especially in mind the need to secure that qualifications and experience in the teaching of nurses, midwives and health visitors are adequately represented on the Council.

(6) The Council shall have—

(a ) a chairman appointed from among its members (initially by the Secretary of State and, as from such later day as he may by order appoint, by the Council itself); and

(b ) a deputy chairman appointed by the Council from among its members.

(7) Part II of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the constitution and administration, etc. of the Central Council.

S-2 Functions of Council.

2 Functions of Council.

(1) The principal functions of the Central Council shall be to establish and improve standards of training and professional conduct for nurses, midwives and health visitors.

(2) The Council shall ensure that the standards of training they establish are such as to meet any Community obligation of the United Kingdom.

(3) The Council shall by means of rules determine the conditions of a person's being admitted to training, and the kind and standard of training to be undertaken, with a view to registration.

(4) The rules may also make provision with respect to the kind and standard of further training available to persons who are already registered.

(5) The powers of the Council shall include that of providing, in such manner as it thinks fit, advice for nurses, midwives and health visitors on standards of professional conduct.

(6) In the discharge of its functions the Council shall have proper regard for the interests of all groups within the professions, including those with minority representation.

S-3 Standing committees of Council.

3 Standing committees of Council.

(1) The Secretary of State shall by order constitute as standing committees of the Council a Midwifery Committee and a Finance Committee.

(2) The Council shall consult the Finance Committee on all financial matters.

(3) The Secretary of State may by order constitute other standing committees of the Council and (to the extent prescribed by the order) require the Council to consult them on, or empower them to discharge functions of the Council with respect to, other matters including in particular—

(a ) training;

(b ) clinical nursing studies;

(c ) mental nursing; and

(d ) occupational health nursing.

(4) An order constituting a standing committee of the Council—

(a ) may provide for persons who are not members of the Council to be appointed as members of that committee; and

(b ) shall provide for a majority on the committee to be persons who work or have worked in the professional field with which it is primarily concerned.

S-4 The Midwifery Committee.

4 The Midwifery Committee.

(1) Of the members of the Council's Midwifery Committee the majority shall be practising midwives.

(2) The Council shall consult the Committee on all matters relating to midwifery and the Committee shall, on behalf of the Council, discharge such of the Council's functions as are assigned to them either by the Council or by the Secretary of State by order.

(3) The Council shall assign to the Committee any matter involving a proposal to make, amend or revoke rules under section 15 below; and—

(a ) the Committee shall consider the proposal and report on it to the Council;

(b ) the Council shall take no action on the report until they have consulted the National Boards with respect to the matters dealt with in it.

(4) The Secretary of State shall not approve rules relating to midwifery practice unless satisfied that they are framed in accordance with recommendations of the Council's Midwifery Committee.

(5) Any matter which is assigned to the Midwifery Committee otherwise than under subsection (3) shall be finally dealt with by the Committee on behalf of the Council, so far as the Council expressly authorise the Committee to deal finally with it; and the Committee shall make a report to the Council as to the way in which they have dealt with the matter.

The National Boards and their relationship to the Central Council

The National Boards and their relationship to the Central Council

S-5 Constitution of National Boards.

5 Constitution of National Boards.

(1) England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shall each have a National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, and the Boards shall be corporate bodies.

(2) Each of the National Boards shall have the number of members prescribed by the Secretary of State by order, the maximum being, in the case of the National Board for Northern Ireland, 35 members and, in the case of the other National Boards, 45 members.

(3) Until the appointed day, the members of each National Board shall be persons appointed by the Secretary of State for a term of office ending not later than that day.

(4) With effect from the appointed day, each of the Boards shall consist—

(a ) of members directly appointed by the Secretary of State; and

(b ) of elected members, that is to say members appointed by him on being elected under an electoral scheme to be prepared and approved as set out in Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act;

and, in the case of each Board, the numbers of members who are directly appointed and of elected members shall be as prescribed for that Board by the Secretary of State by order, but so that the elected members form a majority on the Board.

(5) In the case of each Board—

(a ) the majority of those appointed under subsection (3) shall be persons who are nurses, midwives or health visitors; and

(b ) the Secretary of State's direct appointments under subsection (4)(a ) shall be made from among persons who either—

(i) are nurses, midwives, health visitors or registered medical practitioners, or

(ii) have such qualifications and experience in education or other fields as, in his opinion, will be of value to the Board in the performance of its functions.

(6) The Secretary of State shall have especially in mind the need to secure that qualifications and experience in the teaching of nurses, midwives and health visitors are adequately represented on each Board.

(7) Each of the Boards shall have a chairman and a deputy chairman appointed from among its members.

(8) The chairman shall—

(a ) until the appointed day, be a person appointed by the Secretary of State;

(b ) on and after that day, be a person appointed by the Board;

and the deputy chairman shall at all times be a person appointed by the Board.

(9) Part II of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the constitution and administration, etc. of the National Boards.

(10) In this section and in Schedule 2, ‘the appointed day’ means a day appointed by the Secretary of State by order, which must be not more than three years from the coming into force of this section.

S-6 Functions of Boards.

6 Functions of Boards.

(1) The National Boards shall in England, Wales,...

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