The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has set out its priorities for the coming year as it prepares for their next 5-year plan.  

In the NMC’s Corporate plan for 2019–2020, it said that it will focus on the following four areas:  

1.       New strategic initiatives that will significantly change how it regulates, including our new approach to fitness to practise.

2.       Work that ensures its regulatory action is effective and efficient to enable better, safer care.

3.       Ensuring that it is an effective and efficient organisation now and in the future.

4.       Developing a new strategy for 2020-2025.  

Of interest to readers will be the NMC’s new approach to fitness to practise.  The NMC said it will, in the next year: 

·       Implement changes we are making are about embracing a person-centred approach during fitness to practise. This will make sure we treat our registered professionals and the public with compassion and respect, and properly listen to and resolve concerns about nurses, midwives and nursing associates. 

·       We will work more closely with employers so that as many issues as possible can be resolved quickly and effectively at a local level. We’ll give greater consideration to the context in which incidents occur, because we know that the professionals on our register will face complex issues and pressures every day. 

·       When concerns are raised with us, we will strongly encourage midwives, nursing associates and nurses to be open and honest about what has happened and to talk to us as early as possible about what they have done to make things right. If more action is needed, we’ll seek to agree with midwives, nurses and nursing associates what steps they need to take before they are fit to practise safely and effectively. 

·       In many cases, a full public hearing might not be needed. This will reduce the burden on everyone involved, especially the public, patients and families who would otherwise have to re-live distressing experiences. We will continue to give full reasons for the decisions we take so there is transparency about what steps we have taken to promote better, safer care and why. 

In terms of the changes to fitness to practise, these are more specific changes you can expect in the forthcoming year:

1.       By the end of quarter one, we will evaluate the outcomes of the pilots we started in 2018–2019 and make operational changes to deliver the new strategic direction. 

2.       To improve the level of support that we provide for nurses, midwives, and nursing associates who go through our fitness to practise process, we will:

·       provide better information and sign-posting to sources of support by the end of quarter two 

·       launch an emotional support helpline by the end of quarter three 

·       introduce a pro-bono legal advice service for unrepresented registrants, in partnership with a law school, by the end of quarter two. 

Stephen McCaffrey

I am a NMC Defence Barrister who has represented large number of medical professionals before their regulatory bodies in either first instance proceedings or appeals. 

I can help with all matters relating to NMC Fitness to Practise referrals issues including:

  • What to do if you have been referred to the NMC
  • Advice on the NMC investigatory process
  • Consensual Panel Determinations
  • Interim Orders Hearings
  • Advice, assistance and representation for hearings before the Conduct and Competence Committee
  • Advice, assistance and representation for hearings before the Health Committee
  • Appeals against the decisions of the NMC
  • Police cautions
  • DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] issues

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