THE council that regulates 670,000 nurses and midwives in the UK has checked up on only 60 in the last five years, says a report out today.
Trade magazine the Nursing Standard said it had learned that the Nursing and Midwifery Council had performed just a few checks in 2001 and 2002 and none since then.
The council has the power to conduct random checks on nurses and midwives to make sure they are complying with regulations relating to re-registration - which nurses and midwives must do every three years.
Post-registration education and practice or "PREP" was introduced in 1995 and demands that nurses meet two legal requirements.
The first involves spending at least 750 hours in practice during the last five years before re-registering, and spending at least 35 hours during the previous three years studying in an area related to that practice.
The Nursing Standard said a spokesman for the council told the magazine: "Records are a bit sketchy but it looks as though, prior to July 2001, some 50 registrants were asked as part of an audit to demonstrate they had met the PREP standards.
"From then until March 2002, a further 10 audits were undertaken."
The magazine said every month, the council should check up to 10% of those due to renew their registration. But a spokesman for the council said it had no legal obligation to do monthly audits.