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Plan to speed up NMC Fitness to Practise process welcomed

New powers to give warnings and advice on the future conduct in Fitness to Practise (FtP) cases have been welcomed by nurses

New powers to give warnings and advice on the future conduct in Fitness to Practise (FtP) cases have been welcomed by nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will enforce its new regulations from July and is expecting them to dramatically improve the time it takes to deal with cases.

It also estimates saving around 3.8 million a year by reducing the need for costly FtP hearing panels.

Consultations

From October to December 2016 it ran a consultation called Modernising Fitness to Practise which received 132 responses, 91 from individuals and 41 from organisations.

On the subject of undertakings where examiners recommend a course of action to manage nurses who are found to be a current

New powers to give warnings and advice on the future conduct in Fitness to Practise (FtP) cases have been welcomed by nurses.


NMC chief executive Jackie Smith has said finding the balance with the new regulations would be 
crucial to the success. Picture: Barney Newman

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will enforce its new regulations from July and is expecting them to dramatically improve the time it takes to deal with cases.

It also estimates saving around £3.8 million a year by reducing the need for costly FtP hearing panels.

Consultations

From October to December 2016 it ran a consultation called Modernising Fitness to Practise which received 132 responses, 91 from individuals and 41 from organisations.

On the subject of undertakings – where examiners recommend a course of action to manage nurses who are found to be a current risk to patients – 82% of organisations and 74% of individuals supported the idea.

In cases where a nurse’s past conducted is shown to have been a serious breach of professional standards, but no current risk to patients is proved, then a warning can be issued.

Warnings to be published

The details of these warnings would be published on the NMC public register for 12 months and could be taken into consideration if that nurse’s conduct is questioned again for up to three years.

This proposal was also supported by 74% of individuals, but only 67% of organisations. At a meeting of the NMC council on 29 March, Unison’s former head of nursing Gail Adams explained why her organisation had concerns.

She said: ‘For us, the issue of warnings is a very serious matter, it is not a little slap on the hand.’

Staying on record

She expressed fears a registrant who felt they had ‘demonstrated’ they had learned from their mistakes could still be issued with a warning without their agreement. This would stay on their record and could effect their future employment, she said.

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith responded: ‘There is no doubt these new powers are controversial. We have to balance the views of registrants with the confidence the public should have in nurses and midwives who are caring for them.

‘I welcome the support for these proposals from our stakeholders who clearly recognise the real benefits these changes will bring for the NMC and the nurses and midwives on our register.

‘We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to ensure that these much needed changes are successfully implemented.’


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