For this review period the NMC has met 17 of the 18 Standards of Good Regulation. The NMC did not meet the Standard requiring its process for examining and investigating cases to be fair, proportionate and to deal with cases as quickly as is consistent with a fair resolution of the case. The NMC has met the Standard requiring all parties to a complaint to be supported to participate effectively in the process. It had not met this Standard for the previous three years.
General Standards: ensures that its processes do not impose inappropriate barriers or otherwise disadvantage people with protected characteristics
We found that the NMC undertakes considerable work to understand and address issues about diversity. We saw evidence that it analyses the equality, diversity and inclusion data that it collects and uses the data to develop its understanding of the impact of its policies upon individuals with protected characteristics.
Guidance and Standards: provides guidance to help registrants apply the standards and ensures this guidance is up-to-date
In this review period the NMC published new standards of proficiency for midwives following an extensive period of consultation. It took into account the views of stakeholders and made changes in response to the feedback received to ensure that the new standards prioritise patient centred care and safety.
Fitness to Practise: ensures its process for examining and investigating cases is fair, proportionate and deals with cases as quickly as is consistent with a fair resolution of the case
The NMC has taken longer in this review period to reach decisions about fitness to practise cases. This is particularly concerning in light of the further delays that have been caused by the NMC’s need to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also impacted on the final two weeks of this review period.
We also identified continuing concerns about the NMC’s drafting of charges and failures to investigate or obtain and present relevant evidence. In some cases we considered that the decision reached was insufficient to protect the public. While we found these issues in a small number of cases in the context of the NMC’s caseload, they have significant implications for the fairness of the process. We have therefore concluded that this Standard is not met.
Fitness to Practise: all parties to a complaint are supported to participate effectively in the process
During this review period the NMC has continued its work to address the concerns we identified in our Lessons Learned Review in 2018 and improve support for parties to the fitness to practise process. The NMC has put in place resources to support complainants, witnesses and registrants under investigation and the evidence available indicates that these have been well received.
While there is more work to do to review the impact of some of the significant changes the NMC has made in this area of its work, we are satisfied that the available evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of the NMC’s approach.