The nursing regulator has made “substantial improvements” two years on from a damning review that concluded the organisation had lost its way, says a new report.
However, the Nursing and Midwifery Council still needs to get to grips with key issues including IT and “customer service”, according to the independent assessment by business analysts KPMG.
The report was commissioned by the NMC to assess progress on recommendations made by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (now the Professional Standards Authority) in 2012.
“This independent report concludes is that not only have we fixed the problems identified by the PSA in all areas but we’ve made substantial improvements”
That review found the NMC was “failing at every level”. However, the latest report concludes the NMC is in “a much stronger position than was the case in 2012”.
It says: “Overall this review has identified that the NMC has made a substantial number of improvements, either fully implemented or underway.”
NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said the report drew “a line in the sand under the NMC’s previous poor performance”.
“In 2012 the PSA basically said the NMC was broken and need to be fixed,” she told Nursing Times. “What this independent report concludes is that not only have we fixed the problems identified by the PSA in all areas but we’ve made substantial improvements.
“I think that is something the public and professions can take comfort from and have confidence in us going forward.
“We are not complacent and know we have a lot to do. The report identifies the areas we should be focusing on and which we are focusing on in any event.”
The report concluded the NMC had made good or better than expected progress on 14 out of the 15 recommendations made by the PSA but found it had been slow to update “out-dated” IT systems that risked hampering the efficient running of the organisation.
Ms Smith said IT was one of three key priorities for the organisation going forward alongside efforts to support and engage its own staff, and further work to improve “customer service”.
She said the creation of NMC Online facility was one example of how the organisation was trying to improve day-to-day interactions with nurses, midwives and others.
Meanwhile the body would soon be introducing a new set of “customer service standards” to apply across the organisation alongside new measures to monitor performance.
“What we’re talking about is a corporate, cohesive approach to customer service so it’s not bits of good practice in parts of the organisation,” said Ms Smith.
“It’s about the interaction people have with us and making sure that is a good experience whether you are giving evidence at a hearing or filling out your form online and paying your fee.”