The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has published its annual performance review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC’s register covers just over 690,000 nurses and midwives practising in the UK, and nursing associates practising in England.
The NMC has met 22 out of 24 of our Standards of Good Regulation. It has not met two of our Fitness to Practise Standards relating to the transparency and fairness of its processes and keeping parties updated.
This is the first review of the NMC since we published our lessons learned review. We are pleased that the NMC has instituted a plan of work to address the concerns we outlined in our review. However, we recognise that it will take some time to implement and for us to evaluate the results.
We noted that the NMC has done significant work around its review of education and training. In respect of fitness to practise, it has made progress to address concerns around how it communicates with families and patients – including setting up its public support service and also looking at the tone of voice it uses when corresponding with members of the public.
However, we had concerns about how the NMC handled complaints raised about registrants who have conducted Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments. We considered that the NMC did not systematically consider all the concerns raised by complainants, relied on the views of employers as reasons to close cases, without proper scrutiny and did not obtain sufficient evidence to reach its decisions.
We considered that these issues created a barrier to vulnerable people raising potentially serious concerns. We also noted that the NMC agreed with our findings and is taking steps to address the concerns.
We recognise that the NMC accepts the concerns that we have identified about its approach to fitness to practise cases and is undertaking work which aims to address them. We would not expect to have seen significant change in this performance review period. We will monitor the NMC’s work closely in future performance reviews.
More information is available in our full report Performance Review - NMC 2017/18 or read a summary in our snapshot.
Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
Contact: Mark Stobbs, Director of Scrutiny and Quality
Reception: 020 7389 8030
Notes to the Editor
- The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
- 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 insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
- The Standards of Good Regulation are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public but also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves. The Standards cover the regulators’ four core functions: setting and promoting guidance and standards for the profession; setting standards for and quality assuring the provision of education and training; maintaining a register of professionals; and taking action where a professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired.
- We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
- 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.
- We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
- The Nursing and Midwifery Council regulates the nursing and midwifery professions in the United Kingdom. From July 2018, the NMC also became the regulator in law for nursing associates in England. Its work includes: setting and maintaining standards of practice and conduct; maintaining a register of qualified professionals (registrants); assuring the quality of education and training for nurses, midwives and nursing associates; requiring registrants to keep their skills up to date through continuing professional development; and taking action to restrict or remove from practice registrants who are not considered to be fit to practise. As at 31 March 2018, the NMC was responsible for a register of 690,278 nurses and midwives. Its annual retention fee for registrants is £120.
- 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.
- More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk