Between July and September 2014 we audited 100 cases handled by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and closed at the initial stages of its FTP process during the period 1 January 2014 to 31 July 2014. This audit report is being published one year after the end of the onsite audit and we acknowledge that exceptional delay.
When we compared the findings from this audit with our last audit in 2013 we identified that:
• There were some areas where the NMC continued to perform well (e.g. documenting risk assessments, record keeping and customer care by the screening team)
• There were some areas where the NMC had maintained good performance we identified in our last audit in 2013, although this was not consistently across all of the cases that we audited (e.g. we found inconsistent compliance with internal procedures, inconsistent improvement related to timeliness)
• There were some areas where we were unable to identify much improvement in the NMC’s performance compared to the 2013 audit (e.g. record keeping, avoidable delays in case progressing leading to the need to apply to the High Court for interim orders, and inadequacies in the handling of the process for the reviewing of interim orders).
We were disappointed that our audit identified the following:
• Weaknesses in the gathering of information and evidence - which we had not found in our 2013 audit. While we recognise that the inadequacies we identified did not create any public protection risks, nevertheless we consider that it is unacceptable for decision makers not to be provided with relevant evidence. A pattern of such failings could lead to a loss of confidence in the regulatory process
• Inadequacies in case handling (in six cases), and concerns related to the operation of the NMC’s process which we considered led to unfairness to one or more individuals in another six cases. We considered that if the approach taken in these cases was adopted more widely, there would be the potential to adversely affect public confidence in the NMC’s system of regulation
• Deficiencies in the NMC’s evaluation and decision making processes and in some decisions and/or the reasons for them. We have not yet seen sufficient levels of improvement despite the steps the NMC has taken such as making procedural changes, providing training for IC members and staff and amending its guidance.
We identified evidence of some improvement in the NMC’s approach to its handling of voluntary removal cases, however we concluded that the NMC had not successfully addressed all of the concerns we identified about this area in our 2013 audit. We have recommended that the NMC reviews our concerns in relation to its handling of cases closed by voluntary removal, and considers whether further amendments to its guidance or processes are needed.
You can access the report using the link below.
NMC FTP Audit Report 2014