NMC ‘toxic culture’: regulator appoints barrister to investigate
Specialist employment and equality lawyer will lead reviews sparked by claims of institutional racism, toxic culture and mishandling of fitness to practise cases
An employment and equality lawyer will lead investigations into claims of racism, sexism and toxic culture at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The nursing regulator has appointed Ijeoma Omambala KC to review claims that fitness to practise cases have been mishandled, especially those involving racism, discrimination, sexual misconduct and child protection. She will lead a concurrent investigation into how complaints about allegations were handled.
‘I’m sorry anyone has concerns about our culture, and the regulatory decisions we take. We’re committed to a rigorous, transparent and independent response’
Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive
NMC chief executive ‘more determined that ever’ to embed a supportive workplace
NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said in a statement she had reflected deeply on the concerns raised by an unnamed source in the Independent newspaper, including discrimination and bullying of employees.
She said: ‘I’m more determined than ever for the NMC to fully embed a safe and inclusive working environment that supports all our colleagues to thrive, and delivers effectively on our primary purpose of protecting the public.
‘I’m sorry anyone has concerns about our culture, and the regulatory decisions we take. We’re committed to a rigorous, transparent and independent response to the concerns.’
Claims of a culture of fear and institutional racism at NMC
The Independent reported that an internal report in response to a whistleblower’s concerns found a culture of fear prevented NMC staff from raising concerns about unfair handling of fitness to practise cases. The whistleblower also claimed there was institutional racism towards colleagues from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
‘I’m so sorry to anyone who has personally suffered or observed racism or sexism, bullying or harassment at the NMC,’ Ms Sutcliffe added. ‘That’s not everyone’s experience as many colleagues have told me, but we must have a zero-tolerance approach for everyone’s benefit.’
The NMC confirmed that alongside the barrister’s investigations, there will be a third external review that will focus on concerns raised about the regulator’s culture.
An internal advisory group will be established to advise its ruling council on the scope of the review and how it should be conducted.
The Charity Commission has also opened a case to investigate governance at the regulator.
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