NMC receives 34 ‘qualifying’ whistleblowing disclosures in 2018-19

Report reveals how the nursing regulator dealt with whistleblowers’ concerns 

Report reveals how the nursing regulator dealt with whistleblowers' concerns  

The disclosures included concerns about patient safety and harassment of colleagues Picture: iStock

A total of 34 ‘qualifying’ whistleblowing disclosures were made to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) from April 2018 to March 2019.

The nursing regulator said most of these disclosures – reports that meet the NMC’s qualifying criteria for taking the issue forward – included concerns over patient safety, management and behaviour, including bullying, intimidation or harassment of colleagues.

In its annual report published earlier this year, the regulator said common reasons why whistleblowing issues did not meet the criteria for the NMC to take concerns forward included the matter not falling within its remit or not meeting its public interest test.

Most disclosures that did not meet the NMC’s public interest test were personal grievances, or complaints ‘serving only the interests of the person making the disclosure’, according to the regulator.

NMC took regulatory action in 18 cases

The 2018-19 qualifying disclosures were highlighted in a report about the actions taken on whistleblowing by the NMC and other healthcare professional regulators in the UK.

Out of the 34 disclosures, the NMC took regulatory action over 18 and referred the other 16 to an alternative body which took subsequent action.

NMC director of fitness to practise Matthew McClelland argued the report demonstrated how seriously the organisation took whistleblowing disclosures.

The total number of whistleblowing reports to the NMC fell to 94 in 2018-19, compared with 371 the year before.

Of the 371 whistleblowing reports in 2017-18, only 60 were classified as qualifying disclosures by the NMC.

Whistleblowing charity warns that data does not reveal the full picture 

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for whistleblowing charity Protect, said numbers on whistleblowing disclosures did not tell the whole story.  

‘We believe it is far more important to focus less on numbers and more on instilling trust in staff so they feel safe to speak up and stop harm sooner,’ they said.

‘Staff should also be commended – not condemned for speaking up.'

This article was updated to include additional figures from the NMC on 17 September 2019

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