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NMC behind on fitness cases

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is struggling to deliver its pledge to deal with the vast majority of fitness to practise investigations within 15 months of referral.

As the regulator gears up for an external audit, latest figures have revealed its attempt to clear 3,525 active cases is being hampered by a continued backlog of work.

The NMC had promised that 75 per cent of cases would be managed with 15 months in the first quarter of the 2010-11 and 90 per cent by the year end. It also recruited extra staff to speed up the process, following strong criticism for delays.

But performance has plateaued over the last two months, with around 66 per cent of cases resolved within accepted time limits.

A spokeswoman for the NMC said, while it has set itself ambitious targets, the regulator does not want the quality of the work to suffer. 

She said: “ We still have a number of old cases which we have been investigating for some time and we are focussing our efforts on clearing these and are providing additional resources to do so.

“Until we have been able to do that and improve timelines in new cases we do not expect our performance against this key performance indicator to improve as much as we would like. “

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence next week starts its annual audit of NMC casework.

Chairman Harry Cayton said: “We will be looking at what actions the NMC has taken to implement its improvement plans for the fitness to practice process.”

Since December 2008, the number of cases facing a long wait for a hearing has fallen from 192 waiting over nine months to 132 waiting over six months.

Readers' comments (5)

  • The NMC are complete liars - I have waited over 2 years to be told I have no case to answer . They did nothing for the first 10 months and then only acted when I phoned to see what was going on . They says they will write to you regularly when there are delays - they did not . When I made an official complaint about the process they lost my letter for 3 months and I got " the dog ate my home work " excuse . You only have to look at the hearing outcomes on the website to see that they are still dealing with cases that started 6 years ago - this is appalling.

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  • The NMC claim to have set ambitious targets, but does not want the quality of the work to suffer - WHAT WORK AND TO WHICH LEVEL OF "QUALITY" DO THEY REFER? As it stands their appalling lack of action strongly indicates that their investigating practices are at the lowest level of quality possible.

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  • Perhaps we should ask under the Freedom of Information Act, just how much money is spent on investigating each case that is referred to the NMC?

    I am aware of one case which has been ongoing for over 2 years. It is grossly unfair on all concerned.

    In accepting that there is a need to conduct a thorough investigations into complaints, when charges are put to a registrant and they admit the offence, is there really a need for an expensive investigation carried out by solicitors?

    The system needs a radical review so that registrants who make mistakes in their professional practice and except that they had made a mistake are dealt with speedily.

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  • rovergirl6@hotmail.com

    To think i was so honest i let my registration because i could not honestly say that i had kept up my prep. there must be hundreds of nurses who will not be as honest and who are still practising. I miss my work so very much and i am too young to be on the scrap heap. i feel that i have a lot of empathy and caring to offer my patients .What a silly girl i was.

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  • My 18months is up and the NMC are applying to the high courtfor an extension so that they cancontinue to investigate my case. I agree with Sandra. Maybe honesty isn't the best policy. My life has been destroyed. My health has deteriorated so much. I'm stressed to the eyeballs in anticipation as to what is going to happen.....when it ends!

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