Andrea Sutcliffe, Nursing and Midwifery Council Chief Executive and Registrar, on what the regulator is doing to improve regulation.

Ms Sutcliffe outlined the NMC’s top priority for the coming year that includes bringing down the NMC’s fitness to practise caseload and making improvements to the way it handles people’s concerns about nursing and midwifery professionals.

We’re now working on an ambitious range of improvements to our FtP processes and decision making.

Bringing down the fitness to practise caseload

She said the pandemic meant that the NMC needed to pause some cases and prioritise others, to allow professionals to focus on Covid-19.  This resulted in a caseload increased for the NMC and that the NMC are “working on an ambitious range of improvements” to it fitness to practise processes and decision making that will help to reduce this caseload quickly and fairly.

Ms Sutcliffe did not go into any substantial depth on these fitness to practise improvements but said it wanted to give professionals the chance to address concerns and encourage more concerns to be resolved locally leaving the NMC to take forward the most serious cases to keep the public safe.  This will include a focus on supporting employers to resolve concerns locally.

Updating our forms and guidance

The NMC has also updated its referrals forms and screening guidance to provide greater focus on referrals that are necessary to protect the public and give screeners greater decision making freedom to know which concerns should be investigated locally.

Taking account of context

She said that:

“I firmly believe that the best way to encourage a safe, fair and open nursing and midwifery culture is to take into account how and why something has gone wrong, giving professionals the chance to address and learn from concerns.”

A new approach to taking account of context means that the NMC will put greater focus on contextual factors going forward.

“our regulatory work should inspire public confidence in nursing and midwifery.”

Ms Sutcliffe ended by saying that:

“Improving the way we handle people’s concerns about nursing and midwifery professionals is vitally important.

“But we know that investigations can have an emotional impact on the people involved, including nursing and midwifery professionals, and the members of the public affected. That’s why we’re committed to getting this absolutely right.”

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