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Cameron brands NMC's decision-making 'outdated and inflexible'


The prime minister has told the Nursing and Midwifery Council it must outline the steps it will take to strengthen its systems of accountability in the light of the Francis report.

Following the publication of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation public inquiry report today, both the NMC and the General Medical Council have come under fire from the prime minister for failing to protect patients at Mid Staffs.

In a speech responding to the report in the Commons, David Cameron said: “We expect the professional regulators to strike off the doctors and nurses who seriously breach their professional code. But in Stafford [Hospital] those expectations were badly let down.”

The NMC was criticised in the Francis report on a number of issues, including its administration, which inquiry chair Robert Francis QC described as “wanting”. Although not the subject of this inquiry, Mr Francis said that “It is imperative in the public interest that this is remedied urgently.”

To help with this, the prime minister said he was going to ask the Law Commission “to advise on sweeping away the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s outdated and inflexible decision-making process.”

Mr Cameron also said that health secretary Jermey Hunt had “invited” the NMC and the GMC to explain what steps they’ll take to strengthen their accountabilty in light of this report”.

The NMC’s chief executive Jackie Smith welcomed the announcement: “This is positive news. We gave evidence to the Law Commission that we need a modern and effective framework. For example, our process is less flexible that that of the General Medical Council, because the laws under which we each operate are different.

“We believe that a new framework should aim for a faster, more flexible and fairer system, which would robustly protect patients and the public interest. Obviously a wide range of stakeholders should be consulted on principles and on details in due course,” she added.

The Francis report also said that to act as an effective regulator of nurse managers and leaders as well as front-line nurses, the NMC “needs to be equipped to look at systemic concerns as well as individual ones”. It recommended it work closely with and share information with the systems regulators in organisations where nurses are active. He says that “Full access to the Care Quality Commission information in particular is vital.”

Francis also recommended that the NMC has its own internal capacity to assess systems and launch its own pro-active investigations where it becomes aware of concerns that may give rise to nursing fitness to practice issues.

“We will take time to consider the report properly and to respond.  We owe it to those who died and suffered to learn from the tragedy and the report will be a major focus of our work for years to come,” says Ms Smith.

Other recommendations in the report included the introduction of a system of revalidation similar to that used in the General Medical Council and to raise the regulator’s profile publicly so that patients knew which body they could raise concerns with.


Readers' comments (7)

  • Susan Markham



    Thirteen million to find this out?

    FFS and WTF!

    The UK tax-payer just got boned up the ass.

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  • Well Im subject currently to an nmc FTP interim investigation, stuck & trying to work under virtually impossible practice conditions having whistleblown a particularly abusive forensic hospital which consequently changed its seclusion practices following an inquiry for which the Trust CEO thanked me in writing whilst applying a nauseous campaign of suspensions, hostile "alternative to suspensions" and hugely over resourced disciplinaries before dismissing for an ultimately contrived single seclusion abuse victims adjacent ward "file accessing". The nmc returned two years later and & spent 6 months cherry picking all previous allegations, reworking and presenting even the previously dropped ones (as nearly all were) using win-today-pay-later solicitors. I insisted on addressing directly and the RCN pulled out so I'm on my own and have 3 weeks to reply. Welcome to the real world of nursing whose fifth "C" is courage 'cos you are going to need it

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  • I think people are wondering how on earth a nursing director at Mid Staffs had 'no case to answer'.

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  • Susan Markham

    Wow... well here's a post that I never thought I'd make....

    The Daily Mail actually got it right for once....

    Yeah I know what you are saying... “shut the buck up!” but it is true.

    They “DM” seems to have (temporarily) unleashed their former biased blinkered boundaries and had the balls to publish an article that attempts to seriously understand the issues raised by the Francis report.

    Harriet Sergeant seems to get to the testicles of this issue and does it more eloquently than I ever could.


    Absolutely diamond and spot-on... What I have been saying since 1974 when the Area Health Authorities and Regional Health Authorities were created. Ivory towers. Just ways to permit more wankers to suck a severe salary from the NHS.

    FYI – I hate the Daily Mail and all it stands for.... alas I have to give them Kudos for having the testicular fortitude to publish this piece.

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  • Both nursing and medical profession have been subjected for years to an authoritarian approach of persecuting whistle-blowers and sacrificing human lives for the sake of the quiet life which does not exist anyway. LJ Harris in the case of Dr Rita Pal v GMC did describe it as such, but it continued nonetheless.
    Professional self-regulation doe snot work because it breeds artificial culture of agreeableness amongst colleagues just to avoid being mobbed.
    Judges, it appears from my investigations do not have any specialists training regarding whistle-blowers and neither did GMC until they were asked to provide information on FOIA request. Having procrastinated for one years with an answer eventually the truth came out. Of course, professions do not want to have those they perceive as traitors amongst themselves. So, the solution to this misery is radical and in the interest of social justice. It would be revolutionary for UK but not for other countries that did abandon self-regulation.

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  • To: Anonymous @7:50 am

    Deprivation of liberty is breach of human rights and hospital can be found guilty and have to pay compensation but worst of all is loss of good reputation. Some people are ready to kill to preserve their reputation.
    Was it Shakespeare who said Guard it with your life.

    Why not appeal under Article 10 of European Convention on Human Rights and take offenders to the High Court for malicious persecution as Dr Ewa Michalak did. GMC were already placing conditions on her practice but it is only winning outside regulators chambers that the survival of her and her family was assured.

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  • I think people are wondering how on earth a nursing director at Mid Staffs had 'no case to answer'.


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