The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has seen a surge in referrals and enquiries in the aftermath of the conviction of nurse Lucy Letby, as fitness to practise (FtP) cases hit a record high.

According to council papers published, the NMC’s fitness to practise case load now stands at over 5000 cases.  The Council papers revealed that the NMC’s caseload “increased by 116 cases to 5,500 at the end of September 2023 (5,384 at the end of August).”  The report author said:

“High referral numbers have continued to drive the increase in case numbers. We received 578 new cases in September 2023 (the highest since March 2016) up from 451 in August 2023. To help manage referrals, our new ways of working hub (formerly known as best practice hub) launched in November 2023 using the new concerns management tool.

“Mitigations are being delivered through our FtP improvement work including our rapid resolution team, workforce modelling to clarify our resourcing and surge support in screening, case preparation and presentation, adjudications and quality decision making, as well as additional reviews as part of existing processes to support progression of work through the various FtP stages.”

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“Not an Outlier”

The NMC’s executive director of professional regulation Lesley Maslen said that the circumstances in which the NMC currently found itself as a “perfect storm” but also noted:

“Clearly one of the things that is quite striking is the significant increase in referrals into the NMC, but I do find it helpful to know that has been the same within other healthcare regulators as well.

“So, we are not an outlier in having this significant increase.”

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