The Nursing and Midwifery Council sets out plans to reduce its fitness to practise caseload as part of its priorities for 2021–2022.
The NMC said:
“The caseload was beginning to increase toward the end of 2019–2020. This was partly due to new, person-centred ways of working which were taking longer. It was also partly due to vacancies in key teams, such as screening and investigations.
“We’d started to address this increase in cases. But the pandemic meant that we needed to make some decisions about fitness to practise that increased our caseload further.”
The NMC set out the following measures to work on reducing its fitness to practise case load:
- Prioritise activity to manage immediate risks to the public. This concentrated on interim orders, interim order reviews and substantive orders, and extending interim orders through the courts where necessary. To do this we created the facility to run virtual hearings.
- Prioritise cases where the outcome of the investigation indicated that it was likely to close at the Case Examiner stage. This enabled nurses and midwives to help with
the pandemic response without the concern of an open fitness to practise referral.
- Suspend other fitness to practise casework where there was no immediate risk to the public, so as not to divert frontline health and care professionals from the response to the pandemic.
“Reducing our fitness to practise caseload is the cornerstone of our 2021–2022 corporate plan. We want to make changes that reduce the caseload quickly, building on our existing work in fitness to practise and creating long-lasting improvements to the way we regulate.
“To reduce the caseload as quickly as possible we’re redesigning the processes that support our regulatory work and investing in additional resources.We want to create long-lasting improvements that will help us make the right decisions, at the right time. So we’re also working with employers to resolve cases quickly, locally, wherever that’s appropriate.