NMC consultation on fitness to practise

By Julie Griffiths on 04 April 2018 NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council FTP - Fitness to Practice

The NMC has outlined plans to overhaul its approach to dealing with complaints about midwives and nurses.

The regulator is seeking views on its proposed new strategy 'Ensuring patient safety, enabling professionalism: a new strategic direction for fitness to practise' in a public consultation that has launched today (4 April).

The NMC wants to encourage midwives and nurses to speak up at the earliest opportunity when things go wrong and see the fitness to practise process as an opportunity to learn and reflect.

In cases where there’s no dispute about what happened or what sanction should be applied, it plans to conclude cases without the need for a public hearing.

While the NMC says it will always act immediately if patient safety is at risk, the proposed approach also recognises that employers are usually in the best position to resolve concerns immediately and that the NMC should only take action if the employer has already investigated the concern.

Under the proposals, those affected by failings in care will be supported through the NMC’s new public support service and will only be called to give evidence at public hearings where absolutely necessary.

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: ‘Where nurses and midwives speak up early and learn from their mistakes we want to see fewer hearings and cases resolved much more quickly.

‘We want to move away from a process which is often adversarial, cumbersome and distressing to one which supports a learning culture where nurses and midwives can be open about what happened.

‘Our proposals aren’t about excluding anyone, rather we want to reduce the impact on all those involved whilst putting patient safety at the heart of what we do.

‘This isn’t a done deal, we’re eager to hear not only from professionals and employers but importantly from members of the public about our proposed new approach.’

The consultation, which can be accessed here, will run from 4 April to 30 May 2018.