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'Not a clean bill of health' for NMC

Posted: 6 March 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

The NMC has been told by a government committee that it is still not doing enough to protect patients.

'Not a clean bill of health' for NMC
The regulator was also told by the health select committee that there is ‘concern’ that fitness to practise cases ‘still take too long to be resolved’.
 
But its report did add that there is growing evidence that changes implemented by the new management ‘will allow the NMC to tackle the problems’.

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive, admitted that the report is ‘not a clean bill of health’, but said that she did not expect it to be.

‘We welcome the report, which recognises the genuine progress we are making, and challenges us to do better,’ she said.

‘In particular we agree with the committee that our focus must be public protection. We don't under-estimate the challenges ahead.’

The report states that at ‘the heart of the problems’ facing the NMC is a poor IT system that has resulted in ‘insufficient and inaccurate management of data’.

The committee believes that this is also linked to the high level of staff turnover, which is 36%.

But it is ‘optimistic’ that the NMC is concentrating on its key statutory roles and recommends strengthening some NMC powers, including backing calls for the NMC to have the power to review its own fitness to practise decisions.

Jackie said: ‘If our legislation was changed, we could handle fitness to practise cases more rapidly, more consistently, and more economically.’
 
She continued: ‘The report is not a clean bill of health, and we don’t expect that. As an organisation, we know we have a lot to do before we become an efficient and effective regulator.

‘We are now focused on our core statutory role, tackling our fitness to practise workload, introducing revalidation, and reviewing our systems and processes, all to protect the public.’

To view the government report on the NMC, please click here.