NMC chief executive Jackie Smith resigns

'Now is the right time to leave', says Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Jackie Smith

'Now is the right time to leave', says Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive Jackie Smith – as she announces her resignation

Chief executive of NMC, Jackie Smith. Picture: Neil O'Connor

The woman in charge of nurse regulation in the UK is quitting after six years in the job.

Jackie Smith will leave her post at the end of July. Her announcement comes just days before a review of the NMC's handling of midwifery failures at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is published.

In a statement, Ms Smith said: 'It’s been an honour to lead the NMC over the past six years and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved. Now is the right time for someone else to take the organisation forward.

'I want to pay tribute to the staff at the NMC who have worked so hard and achieved so much during my time here.

'Ms Smith has led the regulator with conviction through a period of positive change'

Janet Davies, RCN general secretary

'I’d also like to thank the nurses and midwives on our register – it’s been a privilege to work with them and witness the fantastic care they deliver day-in day-out.'

An inquiry into Morecambe Bay in 2015 found a 'lethal mix' of failures had led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother between 2004 and 2013. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt commissioned the Professional Standards Authority – the regulators' regulator – to conduct the lessons-learned review of the NMC's role.

'Advocate of nursing'

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said Ms Smith had been 'a powerful advocate for nursing'.

Ms Davies said: 'She has worked tirelessly to make sure the UK’s workforce upholds the highest standards. She has led the regulator with conviction through a period of positive change and, on behalf of all nursing staff, I pay tribute to her for that.'

The NMC council's new chair Philip Graf said Ms Smith had made an immense contribution to the organisation and he would be sorry to see her leave.

Mr Graf said: 'Public protection has always been at the heart of everything Jackie has done and she can take great credit for transforming the organisation into the high performing regulator it is today.'

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