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Nurse regulator branded 'dysfunctional' in Commons debate

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The government has called for an investigation into allegations of bullying and racism at the Nursing and Midwifery Council following a debate in the House of Commons today.
The debate was brought by Jim Devine, MP for Livingstone, who accused the regulator of being ‘fundamentally dysfunctional’.

In today’s adjournment debate, Mr Devine, a former nurse, said : ‘As a self-governing regulator, whose purpose is public protection in the public interest, the NMC should be run with integrity, competence and transparency.

‘Unfortunately this appears not to be the case. The NMC appears to be a fundamentally dysfunctional organisation,’ he told the Commons. ‘There is a culture of bullying and racism as a means of preventing good governance in general,’ he added.

NT first revealed that Mr Devine had raised concerns about the regulator last month. Subsequently NT has learnt that Mr Devine has tabled a number of questions in parliament relating to the NMC and its governance.

Both the healthcare super-regulator, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), and the Charity Commission will investigate the allegations, said health minister Ben Bradshaw in a statement following the debate. NT revealed earlier this week that the Charity Commission was already considering such a move.

Mr Bradshaw said: ‘If the internal processes of the NMC and neither of the measures I have outlined are sufficient to resolve the problems at the council then we would not rule out formally asking the Privy Council to investigate, though this would be a very serious step.’

An NMC spokesperson rejected Mr Devine’s allegations but said it welcomed their invesitgation. He said: ‘Independent scrutiny will give us a chance to demonstrate that we are a fully accountable, open and transparent organisation which does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.’

Harry Cayton, CHRE chief executive, said it was currently conducting its regular annual review of the NMC. ‘We…have agreed to the request from the minister to expedite our report,’ he said.

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