NMC targets diversity with more BME members on panels

Regulator says new appointments increase BME representation, but there is still ‘more to do’

Regulator says new appointments increase BME representation, but there is still ‘more to do’

NMC panel
Caption Picture: Charles Milligan

The nursing regulator has made steps towards parity of representation for black and minority ethnic (BME) members on its fitness to practise panels with a round of new appointments.

With the new appointees, the proportion of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panellists who are BME will be about 10.9%, up from 8.2%. However, the proportion of nurses and midwives on the NMC register who are BME is 17.3%.

‘More to do’

The NMC has acknowledged there is 'still more to do' to improve the situation and achieve parity.

In total, 70 new appointees have been chosen to sit on the NMC panels, after the organisation held a campaign that aimed to appeal to a more diverse group of applicants than in previous years.

Of those appointed in this round, 22.8 % identified as BME.

The NMC said it received a higher proportion of applications from people identifying as BME and LGBT, as well as younger applicants.

Almost a quarter of panellists are BME

NMC director of fitness to practise Matthew McClelland said: ‘A key objective for 2018 was to improve the diversity of our fitness to practise panels to better reflect the nurses and midwives we regulate.

‘We’ve just appointed 70 brilliant people as panellists and I’m delighted almost a quarter of them come from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

‘We know there is still more to do and are continuing to work on improving diversity.’

Bias at the referral stage

RCN diversities and equality coordinator Wendy Irwin said: 'It’s an important first step that NMC is diversifying its panels, and we will continue to work with the council and other agencies to eliminate any discrimination and bias in their processes. Yet the most important element of the work must be to eliminate bias and prejudgement which lies behind some referrals in the first place.

'Tackling racism in the workplace and throughout the operation and design of policies, processes and structures remains a critical piece of work for the RCN and our cultural ambassadors play a vital part in helping to design out and call out bias and discrimination during investigatory processes.'

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