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NMC identifies unexplained spike in referrals over spring


There has been an unexplained spike in referrals to the Nursing and Midwifery Council in recent months – though the regulator has so far stopped short of linking it to the Francis report.

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said “quite a large” increase in referrals had been seen during both April and May.

“We normally expect to receive around 350 referrals a month and it was around 430 [per month], so it was quite an increase.”

“We have always had periods throughout the year when we’ve had spikes, so two months is far too little a time to come to any conclusions about it. It just happens that regulators occasionally have spikes without really understanding why.

“Obviously we’re keeping a very close eye on it, because if it was to be repeated over the next four to eight months then that would have significant implications for the organisation.”

She noted that the figures available so far for June were “not anywhere near 430”.

However, Ms Smith revealed that more members of the public had made referrals than usual during April and May.  

“We get more or less an even number of referrals from employers and members of the public. This [spike] is slightly higher from members of the public, but we can’t say that’s as a result of Francis,” she said.

One of the reasons cited by the NMC for the registration fee rise was a forecast 8% surge in referrals, which was predicted partly as a result of the publication of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report.

However, the spike failed to emerge during the last financial year, which ended on 31 March, and referrals were actually down by 10%, compared with the same point in 2011-12.


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Readers' comments (5)

  • how did they predict a surge before the Francis Report was made public?

    if they put the fee up because of a 'predicted surge in referrals' that didn't happen then why haven't we been given a refund?

    do we know how many 'referrals' could have been dealt with at ward/Trust level, how many resulted in any sanction, how many were inappropriate, how many were malicious?

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  • I can understand a `slight' increase in the annual fees, but to be increased by 25% is day light robbery in the current financial climate.When we have all had to make sacrifices and not had any inflation pay rises from work for 2 years! Plus what evidence do we have of value for money? Unfortunately, we don't have any choice in the matter if we still wish to practise.Is it ethical? Moral? or Professional?

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  • anything to do with dangerous short-staffing levels and the resulting 'poor' care?

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  • Susan Markham

    Get ready for another "spike" in the registration fee...

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  • john warwick

    just look at Ireland and you see how many referals there are , the NHS uses the threat of the NMC to get nurses to toe the line if they dont they get reported as an example. How many senior matrons and directors of nursing have been reported?

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