A new public support service has been launched today that offers “dedicated, personalised support” to members of the public who raise concerns about nurses and midwives.
One to one support will be available to anyone making a complaint as well as a dedicated phoneline providing emotional support.
“We’re absolutely committed to listening to people’s concerns and giving them a voice”
It has been launched by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in response to calls from the super-regulator the Professional Standards Authority in a review.
Earlier this year, the PSA highlighted issues about the NMC’s handling of concerns about midwives’ fitness to practise at Furness General Hospital in Morecambe Bay between 2004 and 2014.
The PSA review was commissioned by the government after the 2015 Kirkup report found serious concerns about the clinical competence and integrity of the midwifery unit at Furness General.
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The review’s findings, published in May this year, also criticised the response of the NMC and led to the resignation of its chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith.
Following the PSA’s Lessons Learned Review into failings in care at Morecambe Bay, the NMC said it had recognised that it had got it wrong in the way it treated people raising concerns.
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The introduction of the new public support service is “one of the ways people will get the support they need and deserve”, stated the regulator.
Anyone making a complaint about a nurse and midwife will now receive “one to one” support from the beginning, with a dedicated, named contact available to them throughout the processes, it said.
An “anonymous emotional support line” will also be made available for all those who need it, noted the regulator.
To continually improve the way it treats those raising concerns, the regulator has established an independent group of patients and family members to challenge its thinking.
A network of 60 NMC employees has also been set up to spearhead projects that will improve the way employees across the whole organisation communicate with people.
Jessie Cunnett, head of the new public support service, said: “Making a complaint about a nurse or midwife can be a distressing and uncertain time and we know we haven’t always got things right.
“But we’re absolutely committed to listening to people’s concerns and giving them a voice when things go wrong with their care, treating them with the respect, compassion and humanity they deserve,” she said.
“But the support service is about much more than improving how we write a letter or answer a phone call,” said Ms Cunnett.
“It’s about our employees establishing a relationship with those receiving care and their loved ones so that we’re able to better meet their needs and support better, safer care,” she added.