More should be done to ensure nurses, midwives, doctors and health professionals can share common training and codes of practice to bring their values and behaviours into line with one another, according to the chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The NMC attended a meeting this week, organised by the Department of Health, which brought together regulators, employers, unions and other bodies interested in healthcare regulation reform.
Following the meeting, NMC chief executive Jackie Smith told Nursing Times there was much more the General Medical Council, the NMC and other regulators could do to ensure public protection by working more closely together.
“The public expects that doctors, midwives and nurses are all trained together. They expect that and wonder why it isn’t happening”
“I think we could set standards across these professional groups,” she said, adding: “And the public expects that doctors, midwives and nurses are all trained together. They expect that and wonder why it isn’t happening.”
She said recent reviews of doctors’ and nurses’ training – the 2013 Shape of Training review of postgraduate medical training and 2015’s Shape of Caring review of nursing education – both agreed this needed to be achieved.
“That’s what the Shape of Training says about medical training, and it’s what the Shape of Caring Review for nursing is trying to get at,” said Ms Smith.
She said the NMC would continue discussions with the royal medical colleges, the GMC, the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives to explore how “we get to a place where we continue standard setting and get to a place where students in professional groups work together”.
This was the way regulators could ensure “we get the right people on the registers in the first place”, she said.
Meanwhile she dismissed rumours about the desire to merge some or all of the nine healthcare regulators to create a “super regulator”.
“There is no point doing that until we’ve discussed the purpose of regulation,” she said.
She said that the further four meetings planned with the DH would address this issue.
“We need to discuss what the purpose of regulation is and how we are meeting expectations. Is it to punish individuals, remove dangerous individuals from the register – in which case give us the tools to do that properly - or is it to improve care by carrying out remediation and support of professionals?
“We are not thinking of putting forward a proposal to merge the regulators, and won’t do. We shouldn’t leap to that conclusion until we understand what we want the regulators to do,” she said.