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Terms of reference for review of Nursing and Midwifery Council announced

The Professional Standards Authority will carry out a lessons learned review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) handling of Morecambe Bay midwives cases at the request of the Secretary of State for Health. The NMC supported that decision and welcomed the review. The terms of reference for the review agreed with the Department of Health and the NMC are:

1. To review the handling by the NMC of the complaints against midwives in the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust arising out of events in 2008 and later and, in particular:

a. The NMC’s approach to managing the complaints;

b. The administration of the cases; and

c. The relationship management with witnesses, registrants and other key stakeholders.

2. To identify lessons for the NMC (and other regulators) about its handling of these cases and its approach to relationships with witnesses and other stakeholders.

3. In the light of the NMC’s present procedures to make further recommendations if necessary for changes to its processes and approach.

The review will not look at the substance of the NMC’s decisions or its panels’ decisions on the facts of individual cases and whether to proceed with them. It will look particularly at matters of patient protection, the NMC’s communications with families, including the NMC’s handling of recent subject access and freedom of information requests.

The review will begin when the NMC has concluded its handling of an outstanding case. We will be writing to the families involved in these cases to invite them to contribute to the review if they wish to. During the review, we will review documents, meet the families, and NMC staff and others we think will help us to identify the lessons to be learned.

As usual, we will not comment on the review while it takes place. We will post updates to our timeline on our website. We will publish a full copy of our report after the review has been completed. Anyone wishing to contribute to our review may contact us on nmcreview@professionalstandards.org.uk

 Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (previously known as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence) oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are unduly lenient and it is in the public interest.
  3. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  4. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  5. We do this to promote the health, safety and well-being of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  6. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.
  7. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk