The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE)
has been asked to undertake the review by MP Anne Milton.
Its final report will be made public in May, although an exact date has not been confirmed.
It is being conducted due to ongoing concerns over the performance of the NMC, which receives over 4000 complaints a year.
It follows a damning CHRE report last year, which found ‘continuing areas of significant weaknesses’ in the NMC’s handling of fitness to practise cases involving midwives and nurses.
Harry Cayton, chief executive of the CHRE, is overseeing the review and admitted that there have been instances at the NMC where things have ‘gone quite badly wrong’.
‘I don’t think the public should be worried, but I think the public deserves better than they have been getting,’ he said.
‘We are trying to do this as quickly as possible and we need better regulation, not more regulation.’
He added that while the review will be as transparent as possible, there won’t be further public announcements made while it takes place.
The wide-ranging review is looking into organisational structure, resource allocation and operational management, among other areas.
Reducing the size of the NMC council will also be investigated, but Mr Cayton confirmed the CHRE had not been asked to look into merging the NMC with any other regulator.
Louise Silverton, the RCM’s deputy general secretary, was at the briefing, which took place in London.
She said: ‘We welcome this review and look forward to working with the CHRE and NMC during the review process.
‘However, I am disappointed to see that we are in a position where the organisation and running of the NMC is again under review.
‘The NMC is an organisation with a critical and important role for the public, midwives and nurses.
‘I hope that this will be a definitive review of the NMC and that it is an opportunity to get the NMC working effectively and efficiently, so that it can concentrate on its core roles and functions and maintain and improve its services.’
Jackie Smith, the NMC’s interim chief executive and registrar, said the NMC ‘wholeheartedly welcomes’ the review and is ‘seriously committed to effective regulation’.
She later added: ‘I believe our processes are fair for everyone that comes into contact with us. But, like every other regulator, we can learn and be better and we need to be.’