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NMC panels face sweeping cuts

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Many of the NMC’s fitness to practise panellists will not be reappointed when their term of office expires, NT has learnt.

This is intended to help the organisation tackle its inefficient fitness to practise case management system.

Of the current 231 panellists, ‘a number’ will not have their panel status renewed in September, an NMC spokesperson confirmed.

NT understands that none of the existing panellists have been informed about the review or their future status.

This move follows last month’s critical report from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE).

‘The CHRE’s recent report on the NMC raised specific concerns about delays in setting up an appraisal system for panellists and about past decisions to extend the terms of office of existing panellists without systematic assessment of their performance,’ said the spokesperson.

‘Some panellists have had their terms of office extended over a number of years and their long service has been vital in our work.

‘However, we must now proactively work to ensure that our pool of panellists better reflects the diversity of the nurses and midwives on our register,’ she added.

The NMC has confirmed that there are 66 existing panellists whose term of office is due to come to an end in September and whose positions are under review.

It would not clarify if any or all of the further 165 panellists were also set to have their terms of office reviewed.

But NT understands that 10 of the existing 13 mental health panel members will no longer sit on panels hearing fitness for practise cases.

The spokesperson added that the regulator intended to respond to the government’s ‘clear steer’ in the regulation white paper Trust, Assurance and Safety.

It states that a ‘healthy turnover of lay and registrant panellists is essential in ensuring that we have an appropriate range of skills, competencies and experience in our panel pool’.

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