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Confidence in NMC 'appears to be improving'

  • 10 Comments

The NMC has improved its performance since a highly critical report sparked a structural reorganisation of the organisation last year, according to the healthcare super-regulator.

A report from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, published last week, said the nursing regulator’s governance and culture had improved since it carried out an investigation last year. The investigation was sparked by allegations made in parliament about the regulator’s structure and performance, first revealed by Nursing Times in February 2008.

According to the CHRE’s new report, the length of time nurses wait for fitness to practise hearings has been reduced – one of the criticism levelled against the regulator last year – and the NMC was praised for a new photographic identification system.

The CHRE said: ‘The NMC has received positive feedback from some of its stakeholders, such as the RCM and Unison, and confidence in the NMC appears to be improving. We are pleased with these developments and would like such work to continue.’

However, the CHRE said it still wanted to see collection of ethnicity and diversity data, a further reduction in the time taken to hear cases and the complete implementation of the NMC’s case management system. It also called for the development of an internal quality assurance team in the NMC’s fitness to practise department.

Additionally, the consistency and quality of fitness to practise decisions must be improved and the NMC still needs to improve its customer service, the CHRE said. In particular, the NMC must improve communication with complainants.

RCN head of policy Howard Catton said: ‘It is very encouraging to see the progress that the NMC has made but there are some very significant areas of work still to do.

‘The first is improving consistency and quality of decisions – that is a critical issue. There has been some progress in terms of the length of time that cases are dealt with,’ he added.

Barrie Brown, Unite head of nursing, agreed more work was needed to improve the fitness to practise hearing process. ‘It is about the way the whole process is handled, and the mechanics of it,’ he said.

According to NMC accounts released last week, the regulator’s former chief executive Sarah Thewlis, who resigned last year as a result of the CHRE investigations, received a pay-off of nearly £122,000.

  • The NMC last week rejected suggestions that registration fees were going to increase above £76 a year. A statement on its website said: ‘A fees strategy paper is being prepared and [NMC] council will consider this at some point before March 2010 but there are no plans to increase the registration fee at this time.’
  • 10 Comments

Readers' comments (10)

  • My own experience of the NMC has left me ashamed of the organisation and ashamed of nursing. I have left the profession after many years as a result. Consistency and communication - don't make me laugh.

    The chaos and inefficiency evident in their practice is outrageous and I am not prepared to condone it or continue to pay for it with my subscriptions.

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  • Confidence is improving???

    Who did they interview about this? the NMC themselves?

    I seriously doubt it was front line nurses.

    The fact that we are required to register with this body disgusts me, and embarasses our profession.

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  • Mark Sheldon

    "positive feedback from..stakeholders & confidence in the NMC appears to be improving"
    This is not my experience when talking to staff. Most weeks when delivering training around the country the NMC will be mentioned and the comments of nurses do not reflect this statement in my opinion. They still have lots to do before people will have confidence.

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  • Not many positives then? What a surprise! Instead of having lots to do to restore confidence I believe it is now unachievable. The organisation is a laughing stock, or would be if the consequences of its almost unbelievable ineptitude and arrogance were not so dire. Nursing as a profession had already sunk in peoples estimation - in some cases quite rightly - and the appalling face of nursing presented by the NMC has significantly increased that perception, and has along the way alientated some of the decent nurses still around.

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  • I certainly do not agree with the findings that NMC has improved. I have personal experience as a complainant. The article is a contradiction in terms, as it goes on to say "the consistency and quality of fitness to practice decisions MUST BE IMPROVED, and the NMC STILL NEEDS TO IMPROVE its customer service". Surely that is the fundamental role of the NMC, thus is clear evidence that as a body it is continuing to fail the nursing profession. Futhermore, the NMC fees are over inflated and were allegedly used (to pay of their massive debts).

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  • I have not heard one nurse with a good word to say for the NMC, but I have heard many many nurses with very poor experiences of this organisation, and many who are leaving their profession in part because the NMC is so shabby and they do not want to support them by registering with them and giving them their extortionate and poorly managed fees, for which they get back little but grief and chaos.

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  • I agree with all comments. The NMC seem to fail at supporting the Nurses who are regisitered with them as well as the public who they are protecting. The fact that we have to pay a yearly registration fee which offers no added benifit seems outragouse in this day and age. Nurses and the nursing profession seem to be at an all time low. Who will help to pick us up?

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  • i wonder if there another NMC we have not been told about!

    send me their details so i can join and leave the somewhat pointless and frustrating one i am a member of currently

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  • Many nurses resent paying the wad of cash they have to turn over to the NMC, without choice, because the service is poor and the organisation unfit for purpose. Most would gladly put that money and even more into an organisation that actually performed and delivered, unlike the current shabby group. To whom do we complain about the NMC, when that body itself is supposedly there to protect and govern nurses? What options are there? Many many nurses would appreciate the answer.

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  • They're daylight robbers, no better than petty thieves. I mean, all they do is threaten you with action if you are deemed "unfit for purpose"! - The irony.

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