If a patient has a stroke or is in a coma, a bed has to be found. But for a person in mental distress, this is not seen to be as necessary. When cuts need to be made in services, mental health often bears the brunt of the savagery. I feel sorry for those in distress who are turned away when seeking help, or face long delays in access to treatment or therapies. We are failing some of the most vulnerable members of society. Being turned away when seeking professional help only reinforces anxiety and feelings of hopelessness and rejection, and can lead to depression, self-harm and suicide. Naomi Lyth, by email

THE NMC BASES IN LONDON ARE CONVENIENT AND COST-EFFECTIVE Further to the letter from Gwyn Morritt, ‘Does the Nursing and Midwifery Council need four London bases?’ (December 3), the NMC is committed to carrying out all regulatory functions cost efficiently, and ensuring that nurses’ and midwives’ fees are spent in the most effective ways. As our head office is based in London, it is efficient for our hearings venues to be there too. London is a cost-effective location in this respect, as the terms of the lease of our headquarters mean that our rent only costs £250 per year. We have office space at Kemble Street and hold our hearings at Stratford Place and Aldwych. Stratford Place has replaced 20 Old Bailey. We have secured our new east London venue at a competitive rate and we benefit from reduced rental rates, reduced hotel costs and well-placed transport links. The NMC is the largest healthcare regulator in the UK, maintaining a register of more than 680,000 nurses and midwives. However, we only spend an average of 3 per cent of our annual budget on rental costs.  This figure is significantly lower than that of other healthcare

regulators, who do not experience the same volume of fitness to practise cases. Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar

TEN YEARS OF MY SKILL AS A NURSE HAVE BEEN WASTED IN THE UK I get very upset and frustrated when I read that there is a shortage of nurses in the UK. I came to the UK from Bulgaria in 2004. An agency in Bulgaria promised me that I would be a nurse within six months. I was left disappointed when this did not happen. I started corresponding with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in 2007, and am still trying to get my nurse registration and Pin number. No one ever explained to me that my papers were valid here for only three months after the date of issue. I finally found that information a couple of months ago. I had been sending my old papers back and forth to the NMC for the past seven years, to no avail. Ten years of my life have been wasted. My skill and experience as a nurse have been lost. But working in a nursing home as a healthcare assistant for all those years has given me the opportunity to show I am still the same caring person. Aneliya Slavilova, Warrington

FAIR PAY PETITION GETS A FLYING START WITH 150,000 SIGNATURES Midwife Natalie Carter is to be congratulated for launching an online petition for fair pay for NHS workers (Letters December 3). Her petition, on the Change.org site, has got a flying start and has received amazing support since it was launched last month, with more than 150,000 signatures. Let’s see if we can get another 150,000 signatures by Christmas and help build real momentum for the fair pay campaign. Please show your support by signing the petition at tinyurl.com/om78mf4 Sally Harding, by email

TWEETS OF THE WEEK Do you welcome clarification from NMC that nurses have a professional duty to assist in an emergency? Did it need clarifying? #NScomment @NurseStandard

Having watched a student nurse walk straight past a man lying on the floor as I passed on the bus, I think it did [need clarifying] @soontobenurses

No need to clarify – just expected. Duty of care both on and off shift. Once a nurse, always a nurse. Within scope of practice @PennyFawthrop

As a nurse and a human being, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t aid someone in need of help @yinyins88

Not just nurses – I am only a first aider (Lucy here) and I had to help with a suicide bid a few years ago and use my skills @AilsaOfficial

If we have enhanced skills to assist, then morally we’re even more obliged to help – nurse or not @Mark_Sheldon

Unless it specifically states so, indemnity cover from an employer would be unlikely to cover out of work incidents @AcademicLawyer2

Follow Nursing Standard @NScomment and join the #NScomment chat on Thursdays at 12.30pm

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The NMC bases in London are convenient and cost-effective.

Further to the letter from Gwyn Morritt, 'Does the Nursing and Midwifery Council need four London bases?' (December 3), the NMC is committed to carryi...
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