NMC call centre criticised for 'unacceptable' number of missed phone calls

The NMC failed to answer 64,735 calls to its call centre in 2015/16

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been criticised by some of its council members for allowing more than 60,000 phone calls to its call centre to go unanswered last year.

The NMC received 474,947 calls between April 2015 and March 2016, but failed to answer 64,735 (13.6%) of them. 

Calls to the call centre are usually made by nurses needing advice on individual registrations, fitness to practise proceedings, the introduction of revalidation and a new registration process for European applicants. 

The regulator aims to answer 90% of calls but council member Stephen Thornton said the 2015/16 response rate was ‘not acceptable’.

Speaking at the NMC council meeting in Belfast last week, Mr Thornton added: ‘Maybe we need to think about whether we put extra resources into that.’

Fellow council member Quinton Quayle said: ‘Some of these [missed] calls could be really important, reporting fitness to practise concerns.’

An NMC spokesperson said it had found a number of changes in the calls over the last year, including an increase in the length of time each call was taking, and that revalidation and the new EU registrations process contributed to this. 

He said: ‘In order to improve our performance, we have introduced a new method of forecasting call volumes, so we can become more accurate in identifying when call peaks and troughs will occur.’

He added that it has introduced training to improve the response rate during peak times and that it is currently meeting its targets for calls answered.

From April 2015 to May this year, the NMC received 65,176 calls and answered 61,500 calls (94.35%) with 3,676 calls (5.65%) missed.