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Increase in number of nurses of black African ethnicity facing FtP process

The group made up 13.3% of new referrals to the NMC, despite only forming 7% of the register
A black African woman sitting before an NMC hearing. Picture: Charles Milligan

The group made up 13.3% of new referrals to the NMC, despite only forming 7% of the register

More nurses of black African ethnicity have been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) this year than last, according to new data.

The NMCs annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) data reveal that nurses of black African heritage made up 13.3% of new referrals to the NMC between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, despite only forming 7% of the register.

In 2018-19, this group accounted for 12.7% of new referrals.

Suggests something is wrong with disciplinary process, or recruitment and training

Roger Kline Picture: Charles Milligan

In comparison, nurses of white British ethnicity 70% of the nursing register are less likely to face Fitness

The group made up 13.3% of new referrals to the NMC, despite only forming 7% of the register

 Charles Milligan
 Picture: Charles Milligan

More nurses of black African ethnicity have been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) this year than last, according to new data.

The NMC’s annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) data reveal that nurses of black African heritage made up 13.3% of new referrals to the NMC between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, despite only forming 7% of the register.

In 2018-19, this group accounted for 12.7% of new referrals.

Suggests something is wrong with disciplinary process, or recruitment and training

 Charles Milligan
Roger Kline Picture: Charles Milligan

In comparison, nurses of white British ethnicity – 70% of the nursing register – are less likely to face Fitness to Practise (FtP) proceedings, accounting for 61% of referrals in 2019-20 and 2018-19.

NHS workforce and diversity expert Roger Kline, who is a research fellow at Middlesex University London, said: ‘I'm not against nurses, where it's appropriate, being referred to the regulator.

‘But when there is a big difference, that either says something about what the trust's disciplinary process is or it says something about the trust's culture, recruitment, training and support, because there's nothing innate about the different abilities of black nurses and white nurses.’

Comparison with last year's figures

Overall, fewer nurses were referred to the NMC, but a higher percentage of nurses were struck off.

The NMC’s Annual Fitness to Practise Report revealed that in 2019-20, 4,033 nurses were referred to the NMC.

The figure was 4,135 in 2018-19.

Of the 424 nurses whose cases were heard in 2019-20, 123 (29%) were struck off, whereas in 2018-19, 155 (25%) of 632 nurses who had their cases heard were struck off.

Reduction in suicide rate among those under investigation

The report also revealed that in 2019-20 one registrant died by suicide while undergoing an FtP investigation.

In 2018, when the NMC first recorded this data, the number was four.

NMC chief executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: ‘What remains, and always will, is our focus on realising our ambition of safe, kind and effective care for all by inspiring confidence in our nursing and midwifery professionals and thereby protecting the public.’ 

Fitness to Practise: the statistics

2019-20

424 nurses had their case heard. Of these:

  • 123 were struck off (29%)
  • 132 were suspended (31%)
  • 62 were placed under conditions of practice (15%)
  • 39 received a caution (9%)
  • Facts were not proved for 4 (less than 1%)
  • 64 did not have their FtP impaired (15%)

2018-19

632 nurses had their cases heard. Of these:

  • 155 were struck off (25%)
  • 224 were suspended (35%)
  • 92 were placed under conditions of practice (15%)
  • 57 received a caution (9%)
  • Facts were not proved for 16 (2%)
  • 88 did not have their FtP impaired (14%)

 

View our COVID-19 resource centre


Related material

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) data

The NMC's Annual Fitness to Practise Report 2019–2020


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