For this review period the NMC has met 17 of the 18 Standards of Good Regulation. The NMC did not meet the Standard requiring it to deal with fitness to practise cases as quickly as is consistent with a fair resolution of the case.
General Standards: the regulator ensures that its processes do not impose inappropriate barriers or otherwise disadvantage people with protected characteristics
We think that the NMC has one of the strongest approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion of the regulators that we oversee. This year the NMC continued its work to understand and address disparities in the impact of its policies upon individuals with protected characteristics.
Education and Training: maintains up-to-date standards which are kept under review, and prioritise patient and service user-centred care and safety
The NMC introduced emergency standards for nursing and midwifery education which allowed more flexibility during the pandemic. It updated them throughout the year to reflect developments in the impact of the pandemic on healthcare services. Stakeholders told us that they welcomed the NMC’s level of engagement and collaboration with the sector in planning and implementing these changes.
Registration: the regulator's process for registration, including appeals, operates proportionately, fairly and efficiently, with decisions clearly explained
The NMC made rapid changes to its registration processes in response to the pandemic to support its registrants and the wider workforce. The NMC launched its temporary register in March 2020. It published clear policies setting out a risk-based approach to inviting groups to join the register and its process for removal from the register. We received positive feedback from stakeholders about the NMC’s approach to this work.
Fitness to Practise: the regulator's process for examining and investigating cases is fair, proportionate, deals with cases as quickly as is consistent with a fair resolution of the case
The time taken to reach decisions about fitness to practise cases has increased again this year, as the effects of the pandemic disrupted the NMC’s ability to deal with cases. Fewer decisions have been reached, and the age and overall size of the NMC’s fitness to practise caseload has increased.
The NMC is implementing a wide-ranging programme of work to address this decline in performance, while ensuring that it can support the people involved in the process. However, it does not anticipate that the impact of many of its planned measures will be seen for some time.
We welcome the clear focus and drive for improvement that the NMC has demonstrated, but in the absence of evidence of significant improvements to performance at this early stage, this Standard was not met this year.