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NMC receives fewer fitness to practise referrals, but higher proportion struck off

Regulator asks for registrants’ views on proposed new ways of working

Regulator asks for registrants’ views on proposed new ways of working


NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe

Fewer nurses and midwives are being referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), but those that are referred are more likely to be struck off.

The NMC’s Annual Fitness to Practise Report also reveals that since April 2018 four registrants have died by suicide while under a Fitness to Practise (FtP) investigation. This is the first time the NMC has recorded such data, following plans made earlier this year to introduce emotional support packages for registrants undergoing the FtP process.

Overall drop in referrals

There was a 2.5% drop in referrals to the NMC during the most recent reporting period, with 5,373 in 2018-19 compared with 5,509 the previous year.     

However, 155 nurses were struck off by the NMC in 2018-19 – 25% of the total cases. This compares with 243 nurses struck off the previous year, or 21% of all cases.

Fitness to Practise: the statistics 

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%)

3,389 referrals to the NMC did not require full investigation after initial assessment.

2017-18

1,156 nurses had their cases heard: Of these:

  • 243 were struck off (21%)
  • 355 were suspended (31%)
  • 157 were placed under conditions of practice (14%)
  • 127 received a caution (11%)
  • Facts were not proved for 5 (1%)
  • 269 did not have their FtP impaired (23%)

3,081 referrals to the NMC did not require full investigation after initial assessment.

 

NMC’s proposed five-year strategy

The report was published in the same week the NMC launched its consultation asking for registrants’ views on its proposed five-year strategy.

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said a key theme was strengthening the relationship between the regulator and the profession to one of ‘mutual respect’.

‘I’m not sure that having 698,000 people afraid of us is the best way to run a regulator,’ she said. ‘We have expectations around the Code. [The profession] needs to understand that they need to meet those standards.

‘Equally, we will be respectful of their position, provide them with the information they need, and we will respond to them appropriately if they ever need to contact us.’

Other themes of the consultation focus on the NMC:
    •    Adapting to new ways of working.
    •    Building a better relationship with the public.
    •    Using research to improve.
    •    Working closely with other regulators.

Nurses have until 16 October to respond to the NMC’s consultation.

What to do if you need help 

RCN members can get free, confidential support and assistance to help them deal with personal and work-related issues. The RCN counselling service is available 8.30am–8.30pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To make an appointment call 0345 772 6100.

The Samaritans offers a safe place to talk any time, including about job-related stress or anxiety. Call free on 116 123. 


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