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'Grab your chance to speak to the regulator'


The comments from some nurses on highlight how much confusion exists surrounding the role of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

There are lots of remarks berating the NMC for not representing or standing up for nurses, when in fact, its job is to safeguard the public and protect patients. In that, it is absolutely no different to the General Medical Council, despite comments on our site to the contrary. It is the unions’ job to represent nurses.

I understand nurses’ antipathy to an organisation to which you have to pay to belong, and which has the power to remove your earning power and good name. But it also gives you the right to call yourself a registered nurse. The fee is one of the lowest for regulated professionals, and you can claim back tax (see

Recent events prove we do need a body to independently stand judgement over nurses. Many referrals are spurious but there are bad apples who will only serve to damage the profession and undermine those doing a good job if they continue to practise.

The issue of what to do if you come across those bad apples has been a hot topic on our website too. Winterbourne View re-ignited the debate over whistleblowing. And so we’ve asked Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes, chief executive and general registrar of the NMC, to host a webchat about raising concerns. He will answer your questions live at 1pm on 1 July on If you can’t join us, email questions to or post them on our website. And if you miss it, the webchat will be on our site afterwards. But we urge you not to.

Don’t miss entering our awards too at Check out the new Rising Star award for nurses who have been practising under five years. And we’re celebrating our own win - nursing won the Chairman’s Award at the Online Media Awards last week, while online editor Rachel Purkett scooped a commendation. Go to Nursing Times’s Facebook page to see us celebrating.


Readers' comments (5)

  • I find this extremely patronising. It is not so much confusion Jenni - we UNDERSTAND the NMC are our regulators - it is more anger, frustration and antipathy at an organisation that is perceived by many of us to be failing Nurses on a variety of levels. Just look at the comments on the Forum 'should we scrap the NMC'.

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  • I agree completely with Mike. Nurses know that the NMC is there to regulate the profession and protect the public - it's the contradiction between these objectives and what the NMC DOES that irritates registrants.

    The way Margaret Heywood was treated by the NMC was nothing short of disgraceful, almost Kafkaesque in its grotesqueness (and no one at the NMC was held to account when it pulled out of an expensive Court case minutes before it was due to be held certain in the knowledge it was about to be mauled by her QC)

    Also: it's a truism that authority can be delegated but responsibility may NEVER be delegated: why does the NMC never pursue nurse managers for their accountability aand culpability when a whole system of care is revealed to be rotten as in the Winterbourne case? Why is it only those registrants at the sharpest end of a rotten system who are clobbered??

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  • michael stone

    I have pointed out elsewhere, that the complaints system avoids dealing with flawed 'guidance'. And also, that it is insanity to have a complaints system which requires nurses to complain to their own managers, about 'policy issues' when the policy was probably approved, by those very managers.
    But, I am with Jenni - any diversion from 'the NMC and GMC are to protect the public' is simply wrong.
    It is legitimate to argue about where the boundaries of professional competence rest, but beyond that, neither the NMC nor the GMC should be defending anybody - they should just be establishing which side of the professional and wider non-clinical boundary lines for acceptable behaviour, people have stepped !

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  • the confusion rests firmly with the NMC and not with nurses who are perfectly clear about their needs.

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  • Uncertain of the answer, but the DoH awarded a contract to Public Concern at Work Charity to allow NHS staff to report concerns/Whistleblowing in the NHS workplace up until April 2011.
    Question is how many staff were aware of this arrangement with PCaW that started in 2008?

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