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Government rejects calls to press ahead with NMC reform

Urgently needed changes to the legislation governing the Nursing and Midwifery Council will not now be made this parliament, after the government rejected calls from the regulator’s leadership to include them in today’s Queen’s speech.

Prime minister David Cameron pledged to make changes to the NMC’s “outdated and inflexible” legislation in the wake of the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust last year.

He said the public had been “badly let down” by the regulator’s failure to strike off any of the nurses involved in delivering poor care at the Midlands trust four years after the scandal first broke.

The NMC had been hoping the government would announce the bill to introduce much needed changes in the Queen’s speech today.

Under the changes the NMC would be able to make decisions faster and agree undertakings with nurses who accept their practise may be impaired, without the need to hold an expensive hearing.

Earlier this week NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith told Nursing Times without the changes the bill would bring the NMC would continue to operate under “woefully inadequate legislation” and could ultimately mean the regulator would be forced to increase registration fees even further in the future.

However, it did not feature in the list of bills announced in the speech today, which included legislation to introduce charges for plastic bags and changes to pension arrangements.

The speech marks the state opening of parliament and sets out the government’s planned legislative timetable for the next 12 months.

The fact it was not included means it will it will not be considered by parliament before the general election in May 2015.

In a statement released this lunchtime Ms Smith said: “I am hugely disappointed that the government has not included this revolutionary bill in its final session of parliament.

“Both the NMC and the public it protects now continue to be left, indefinitely, with a framework that does not best serve to protect the public. 

“We will now take time to digest this disappointing news and work with the Department of Health on how we can now move forward and ensure the NMC is able to fulfil its ambition of becoming a more efficient and effective regulator.”

Readers' comments (12)

  • The NMC will charge forewrd like a bulldozer. They dont care if nurses have had a pay rise or not. There interest is what is in their paypacket not ours.
    The government have been 'in' on all their tea parties, sorry, consultations on the rise in fees

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  • Why does David Cameron feel badly let down by a failure to strike off nurses working at mid Staffs. I wonder if nurses working at mid Staffs felt badly let down by David Cameron

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  • The NHS is a sacred cow and the media is so biased against any improvements! It cannot continue in the present mode! Bring o. The reforms.

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  • Remember this. We all have a vote come next May. Start lobbying your MP on the matter.

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  • Hmm? Of course, there is a far greater need to devote parliamentary time to legislate for plastic bags - rather than reforms to ensure the efficient and safe regulation of the single largest health care profession in the UK.

    That said, I have no faith in the way the NMC is managing its own costs - and do not doubt that they will hike fees anyway. Whether or not nurses can actually 'afford' to pay.

    It's all a mess!

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  • Well at least we know where we stand in the govts eyes - and it's behind charges for plastic bags - we knew that though didn't we - our pay rise tells us how much the govt value our contributions.

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  • The message is that the NMC has a lot more well researched work to do and it should not rush forward so quickly without full rationale for its proposals. The NMC has lost a lot of "brownie points" for its approach to raising NMC fees for nurses. The NMC needs to reconsider its own organisation and look at its own expenditures to determine the way forward

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  • sound reflection on their way forward is required. give them all the time it needs. we have all seen the negative effects of rushed decisions and reforms affecting healthcare which impacts directly on the patients as welll as the morale of the staff.

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  • Plastic bag legislation; wtf. How on earth is that more important than sorting out that worthless institution called the NMC. I despair.

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  • The rent for the NMC's central London premises is £250 per year and paid to the BBC! This started in 1936 when the GNC rented its offices in Portland Sq.and obviously hasn't been changed since. Let's hope the BBC dont start to demand a realistic rent in view of keeping their exorbitant licence fee down.

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  • Anonymous | 4-Jun-2014 7:19 pm

    well some can't afford the luxury of plastic bags as well as the NMC rise, they can't have it both ways! :-(

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  • The NMC terrifies me. They seem to be dysfunctional in areas where there's real risk to the public.

    I know I have to pay up to stay registered, but I do wish I could respect the NMC and I had also hoped that they might restore the HV register as an important meaningful profession, rather than muddle along with the hopeless SCPHN add-on.

    Health visiting and district nursing practice are very different from acute hospital nursing, as much so as mental health and learning disabilities. We need our own register to ensure the public is protected from poorly prepared practitioners and fakes.

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