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NMC met all but one of its standards for 2015-16, review finds

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has received its best review to date from the organisation which oversees how successful it is at regulating the 692,550 registrants on its books.
Jackie Smith

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has received its best review to date from the organisation which oversees how successful it is at regulating the 692,550 registrants on its books

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) notes for 2015/16 the council has met all but one of the 24 standards necessary to achieve good regulation.

The main area of concern related to fitness to practise (FtP) hearings and the rate at which the NMC adjourns active hearings and the time case examiners take to reach a final decision.

Overall the PSA found the NMC had:

  • Met 4/4 standards on guidance and its own standards.
  • Met 4/4 standards on education and training.
  • Met 6/6 standards on regulation.
  • Met 9/10 standards on FtP.

Significant improvements

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: This is our most

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has received its best review to date from the organisation which oversees how successful it is at regulating the 692,550 registrants on its books

The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) notes for 2015/16 the council has met all but one of the 24 standards necessary to achieve good regulation.

The main area of concern related to fitness to practise (FtP) hearings and the rate at which the NMC adjourns active hearings and the time case examiners take to reach a final decision.

Overall the PSA found the NMC had:

  • Met 4/4 standards on guidance and its own standards.
  • Met 4/4 standards on education and training.
  • Met 6/6 standards on regulation.
  • Met 9/10 standards on FtP.

Significant improvements

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘This is our most successful PSA review to date.

Jackie Smith
NMC chief executive Jackie Smith.
Picture: Barney Newman

‘It is pleasing to see that the report recognises all that has been achieved this year, including the introduction of revalidation, which has proved very successful. 

‘Significant improvements have been made to our FtP function this year with further improvements planned over the coming year.’

The review of standards was the first proper acid test for the NMC’s new code launched in March 2015 and setting out the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives to adhere to.

Positive feedback

Also new, compared with previous years, was the review of how revalidation – the process by which registrants demonstrate they are fit to remain on the register – is going.

It was introduced in April and inspectors wrote: ‘We recognise the NMC’s efforts to prepare, implement and communicate about revalidation, as well as its plans to evaluate it.

‘Throughout the year risks associated with introducing revalidation were monitored and actions taken to mitigate them.

‘We received positive feedback from third-party organisations about this and how the NMC had taken their views on-board.’

The PSA inspectors recognised the council’s ongoing work to reduce the backlog of ‘old’ cases from its books, but reported continued concerns in some areas, including the rate of adjournments of hearings.

Continued delays

The authority carried out a targeted review of FtP standards; auditing 50 concluded cases and found ‘there had also been an increase in the median time taken to reach a final decision by case examiners’.

They concluded: ‘There have been some positive developments around timeliness, but overall, continued delays in investigating cases and a failure to schedule final hearings with sufficient time for them to conclude, could cause backlogs and lead to a loss of confidence in the process.’

Responding, Ms Smith added: ‘I recognise there is still more work to be done to meet all of the standards in the future.

‘We are committed to a programme of work to improve the timeliness of the FtP process through changes to our existing legislation, meaning that we will be able to conclude cases earlier in the process.’


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