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Readers' Panel: Is the NMC right to withhold details of complaints against registrants?

The decision to no longer reveal details of allegations against registrants ahead of disciplinary hearings has sparked protest in the media. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say. 

The decision to no longer reveal details of allegations against registrants ahead of disciplinary hearings has sparked protest in the media. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say. 


Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse in Warwickshire 

Stephanie Cumming

The NMC’s decision is positive and negative. It will be difficult for journalists to report on cases without knowing the details of allegations, and I understand their concern that this goes against the principle of transparency.

But as a nurse, I empathise with registrants who have faced allegations and subsequently been cleared of misconduct. Details of the allegations have already been published and their name associated with misconduct, even when the charges are dropped.

This decision will provide a level of protection for nurses while investigations are under way.


Drew Payne (@drew_london) is a community staff nurse in North London 

Drew Payne

This seems like a knee-jerk reaction by the NMC, in response to criticism over the way it handled the Pauline Cafferkey case.

Ms Cafferkey’s case was taken up by the media, who said it should never have gone as far as it did, but this decision will prevent the press from scrutinising any future fitness-to-practice hearings.

The regulator says it is committed to transparency, but by making this decision they are turning away from it. 


Steve Flatt is director of the Psychological Therapies Unit in Liverpool

There are a number of conflating issues here. The media love a good story and the NMC’s decision ruins good gossip in the media.

The speed at which complaints are heard brings its own problems: too fast, and justice may not be served, too slow, and unnecessary distress is caused.

Most complaints to the NMC would likely be of little interest to the press, they just don’t want to be shut out of any ‘juicy’ cases. The NMC can’t win really. 


Edwin Chamanga is tissue viability service lead at Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare, London 

Edwin Chamanga

If the NMC is to be open and honest and accountable to the public, details of allegations should be published ahead of disciplinary hearings. 

But this can be a stressful process for registrants, impacting negatively on themselves and their families, and if the nurse is cleared of allegations their image has been tarnished unnecessarily.

Publishing this information before thorough investigation and hearings are concluded could instil fear into potential future nurses, and make nursing less attractive as a career. 


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity and do not represent their organisations.

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