NMC agrees new approach to resolving concerns

By Julie Griffiths on 25 July 2018 NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council Nurses Midwives

The regulator has pledged commitment to moving away from a blame culture when resolving concerns about midwives’ and nurses’ practice.

The NMC says its focus is on reducing risks to patients and service users in the future by encouraging openness and learning, not on punishing midwives and nurses for past mistakes.

From now on when concerns are raised with the NMC, midwives and nurses will be encouraged to be open about what has happened and to talk to the NMC as early as possible about what they have done to put things right. 

If more action is needed, the regulator will seek to agree with the midwife and nurse what steps they need to take before they are fit to practise safely and professionally.

In many cases, a full public hearing may not be needed, which will reduce the burden on everyone involved, especially patients and families who may otherwise have to relive distressing experiences. 

The new changes are about putting people at the centre of the fitness to practise process to make sure the regulator treats patients and families with compassion and respect, and properly listens to and resolves their concerns about midwives and nurses. 

Greater consideration will be given to the context in which incidents occur in recognition of the complex issues and pressures nurses and midwives face every day.

NMC director of fitness to practise Matthew McClelland said: ‘These plans set a new direction for the NMC and will help to bring about a just culture in the health and care sector.

‘It’s clear we needed to change and improve our approach to help keep people safe and support midwives and nurses to practise safely and professionally. Our plans put the voices of patients and families at the heart of what we do and place a much greater emphasis on openness and learning to help reduce risk for the future.’