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NMC receives hike in complaints about nurses


There has been an 18% jump in complaints made against nurses and midwives, according to latest figures from the nursing regulator, the NMC.

An NMC report reveals that the regulator received 1,759 complaints judged to be suitable for further investigation in 2008-2009, an increase of over 18% compared to the 1,487 in 2007-2008.

This represents the highest number of allegations received by the UK’s largest health professional regulator since 2005, according to the NMC

Nearly 15% of complaints related to charges of dishonesty including theft, false claims to registration with the NMC and sleeping while on duty.

Ian Todd, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, said: ‘We have no objective evidence to explain why the number of complaints has increased. However, members of the public have increasing expectations of the standards of care they should receive and we live in a consumer society in which people are more willing to complain when they have received poor care.’


Readers' comments (11)

  • It is important as professionals that we take the time to accept criticism and it should get more consideration when constructive than we give a compliment, I would imagine this is not a problem limited by borders and one would benefit by examining perspectives around the globe through international nursing to really be honset w/ ones self about our abilities. There are SO many opportunities to provide superior care. The nursing spectrum is far less limited than recent grads or prospective students believe. If we are going to remedy this issue and bring quality, compassionate care to all of our generations, schools of nursing are going to have to be more proficent at nursing job descriptions, addressing nursing salaries, informing potential caregivers of the benefit of travel nursing (which can be rewarding financially) and a quandry of other things will have to be instituted in the ciriculum we use to educate our nursing students. Another criticism of sorts wouild be our resistance to change and seek better alternatives to our current mindset. Oneuntapped resource, for whatever reason, is the internet. It seems the current generation of nurses are uncomfortable w/ using technology to further our skills and education or even something as simple as reaching out to other professionals to get good info from those who have BTDT! I like as a way to get up to date info and connect w/ peers. I think this article defintely has info we need to pass along to the upcoming generation of nurses. Thanks for the enlightening perspective!

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  • Theft and sleeping on duty! Are we recruiting the the best people into nursing. More to the point are incompenent nurse managers bullying the best nurses out of the profession. Is the profession held in such low esteem that suitable applicants go into professions where they will be valued and supported?
    More to the point, how many of the referrals to the NMC are valid? How many referrals are made by jealous nurse managers who want to get rid of good nurses? What action, if any is taken against those corrupt managers? For example, what action was taken against the managers who unlawfully had the the innocent Amanda Jenkins sent to prison?
    School leavers do read the news headlines. Would they want to join such a profession
    Kathleen White, Edinburgh

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  • Sleeping on duty? Is that physically possible??

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  • I had to reply to this. I fully support the notion, made by Kathleen White, about incompetent and jealous managers getting rid of good nurses, mainly using bullying tactics. Unfortunately, these managers always have 'loyal supporters' probably too scared to do anything should be stopped!! I got out from my last job, seeing good nursing colleagues being bullied, and fearing I would be next. I wasn't afraid to voice situations I was not happy with regarding patient care, and that put me in danger of being the next victim. I have been in nursing for over 36 years, keep myself well read and informed, and priding myself on delivering high quality patient care. I have taken the bull by the horns and meeting the Chief Nurse next week to discuss some failings in patient care that are not being reported. If all else fails, I could retire, but if it comes to that, hopefully it is due to having done the right thing without a complaint to the NMC.

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  • to be honest I find myself unsurprised. nurses are put in positions where they are accepting the unacceptable. we are no longer in charge of our world and setting standards. there are fewer role models of good assertive practice and bureaucrats are setting the limits. empower nurses to say no and you will see less complaints about poor practice

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  • I had to reply to this: the above gives a very biased view that bullying is only a top down problem,I know from bitter experience managers can also be bullied by junior staff. As a manager I was told by a junior member of staff that I was paid to be shouted at and take the grief from my team. My sin was: I forgot to inform this person that a staff meeting had been cancelled due to lack of attendance availabilty, which resulted in her shouting at me in full view of other colleagues and sadly some patients.
    I know from some of my manager colleagues they are at times afraid to tackle junior staff regarding work related issues for fear of being faslely accussed of being a bully. I have been a nurse for over 30 years, I am totally committed to delivering the highest possible standard of care to my patients I have been ridiculed for at times for this and told to get in the real world by junior staff when I have asked for things to be done properly.
    I have seen many changes over the past years including the loss of respect nurses used to have for each other and those senior to them, which iI beleive has an adverse effect on the effectiveness and effieciency of patient care within our wards and departments.

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  • They only want to protect the public but the poor nurse per se!

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  • I had to reply to this: it wasn't meant to be a biased opinion, but a personal experience I had endured. I agree bullying occurs at all levels. However, from what I have observed over 36 years is that it is easier to remove more junior staff than managers. On the other hand, I have also observed senior staff being ridiculed by their peers, especially when they are nearing the end of their careers. Some good nurses, on all levels, have a sad end to their long commitment to caring for patients, whatever post they are in. I hope that clears any unintentional bias.

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  • Good nurses are being bullied at times out of the profession or are not being given the promotion their deserve why? some managers have they preference employing people who would not object to the way they manage things even if they are wrong. Nurses who speak out or dare to disagree with certain decisions are seen as a problem eventhough in the long run it is of benefit of the patient. Therefore it is not surprising more complaints are surfacing sady this will only increase. Maybe top managers need to visit the floor on a regular basis to actually see how things are managed. Must point out that majority of nurses are excellent but few bad apples spoils it for everyone

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  • Most of these comments are missing the point.

    Yes there is too much bullying, bitchiness and nastiness within nursing, and this does need to be sorted out.

    But we also need to adress these complaints being made. Yes there are a few bad apples out there and yes these people need to be removed, but what about the vast majority of good, decent nurses who get complaints put in against them over ridiculously vacuous things by vindictive or horrible people just wanting to cause trouble, or just normal every day patients who have been empowered with far too many rights and priveleges and expect far too much from nurses? Is it a hospital or a five star hotel for example?

    We all know the NMC will not protect us or back us up, in fact it is much more likely to engage in a which hunt backed up by the aforementioned senior 'bullies'.

    What needs to be done is a set of ground rules needs to be laid out for nurses AND patients. And nurses NEED to be better protected.

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