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Fitness to practise: employers more likely to refer black nurses than white counterparts

NMC to undertake further research to understand why – and make positive changes

NMC to undertake further research to understand why and make positive changes

Picture: Charles Milligan

Employers are more likely to refer black and minority ethnic nurses to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) than their white counterparts, new research suggests.

The nursing regulators Ambitious for Change report examines how factors such as ethnicity, sexuality and gender may influence a registrants experience of NMC processes.

Employers refer higher proportion of black and minority ethnic nurses

Based on fitness to practise (FtP) referral data of 13,805 cases between April 2019 and March 2020, employers made around half of all referrals of black registrants

NMC to undertake further research to understand why – and make positive changes

Picture: Charles Milligan

Employers are more likely to refer black and minority ethnic nurses to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) than their white counterparts, new research suggests.

The nursing regulator’s Ambitious for Change report examines how factors such as ethnicity, sexuality and gender may influence a registrant’s experience of NMC processes.

Employers refer higher proportion of black and minority ethnic nurses

Based on fitness to practise (FtP) referral data of 13,805 cases between April 2019 and March 2020, employers made around half of all referrals of black registrants (49.9%, 1,082) and Asian registrants (50%, 519), compared with 40.7% (4,420) of referrals of white registrants.

Black registrants were also more likely than white registrants to see their FtP case go to the adjudication stage, where decisions can be made to limit their practise.

In total, 5,411 (58.2%) of cases involving white registrants were closed at the screening stage (before reaching the adjudication stage), compared with 983 (44.2%) of cases involving black registrants.

Andrea Sutcliffe

But the NMC research found that black registrants were no more likely to receive a sanction limiting or prohibiting their practise than their white colleagues.

'People are still treated differently throughout our NMC processes'

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the research highlighted the changes the regulator had to make – and was committed to making them.

‘Today’s research has shown that people are still treated differently throughout our processes, depending on who they are – and that’s got to change,’ she said.

‘While we don’t yet fully understand all of the reasons why, we’re committed to being a driving force for positive change.

‘We’ll now be carrying out further research to understand the reasons behind the disparities we’ve identified so far, so that we can take appropriate action.’

The NMC said it will commission work to understand why employers and members of the public referred certain groups, and to explore people’s experiences of revalidation.


Read the NMC's report

Ambitious for Change: Research into NMC Processes and People’s Protected Characteristics


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