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NMC chief exec resigns

  • 99 Comments

The chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Dickon Weir-Hughes has resigned from his post with immediate effect, Nursing Times has been told.

Professor Weir-Hughes has been on sick leave since 16 December but has resigned from his post for “personal reasons”, according to a source at the nursing regulator.

NMC director of fitness to practise Jackie Smith has been acting chief executive since then and will continue to do, the regulator said.

In a statement issued this morning, NMC chair Tony Hazell said: “After a period of sick leave, professor Dickon Weir-Hughes, has decided to resign from his position as chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and leave with immediate effect.

“We would like to express our thanks for his contribution to the NMC and wish him well for the future.

He added: “In December 2011, the NMC announced its arrangements for managing the organisation during professor Weir Hughes’ sickness absence.

Jackie Smith, director of fitness for practice, will continue as acting chief executive and registrar until the council decides its future arrangements.”

Professor Weir-Hughes joined the NMC as chief executive and registrar on 2 November 2009.

During his period of office, he has been an advocate of the need for tighter regulation of healthcare assistants. He was quoted in the Times last September as having said hospital wards could face a “ghastly national disaster” because of a growing number of unregulated HCAs.

But in a letter to Nursing Times last week, professor Hazell “clarified” the NMC’s position on regulating HCAs, appearing to row back from earlier comments made by professor Weir-Hughes.

He wrote: “The council has discussed this matter on a number of occasions and has acknowledged the importance of enhanced protection for patients. However, to date there has been no formal policy decision by the council regarding the nature of any proposed regulation.” 

Prior to his appointment at the NMC professor Weir-Hughes was executive director of nursing at Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

He was chief nurse and deputy chief executive at the Royal Marsden Hospital from 1998 to 2007.

Nursing Times has learned the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence is likely to carry out a strategic review of the regulator.

CHRE chief executive Harry Cayton said: “I think it would be very valuable to have a review and we’re working with the NMC about how they might prepare for the appointment of a new chief executive.”

A series of reviews into the NMC have taken place in recent years, mainly focussing on the large backlog of fitness to practise cases.

A CHRE audit of the regulator in November found the NMC was starting to make improvements but continued to have “areas of significant weaknesses” in its handling of fitness to practise cases.

Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “I would like to take this opportunity to wish Dickon well for the future and to express my thanks for his work during his tenure at the NMC.

“This is a crucial time for the regulator, and I would also like to express my hope that a permanent successor can be found swiftly.”

  • 99 Comments

Readers' comments (99)

  • Steve Williams

    This comment has been removed

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  • This comment has been removed for not adhering to community standards.

  • Steve Williams

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  • This comment has been removed for not adhering to community standards. <br/>

  • there is a nice post vacant for somebody!

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  • Steve Williams

    This comment has been removed

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  • Hi Steve<br/><br/>Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, your first comment in this thread did include words that we do not consider suitable for our website, so it was removed. <br/><br/>Regards, <br/>Online Editor<br/><br/>

  • Hi,

    I don't think that there should be a vacant post. The NMC has changed CEOs, completely changed the Council twice in 3 years. It needs to end as it has presided over an appalling negligence of overseeing nurse education that was appropriate for the users of the nursing service.
    It has been a very weak voice in its inconsistency of nursing strategy, fitness for practice activities and communication.
    It has already had two appalling reports of its formal activities by CHRE.

    There should be one regulator for all health care professions, including doctors, and then satellite National bodies who regulate nurses and education in the devolved nations.
    Bringing regulation closer to practice (in Nations) is much better.
    The Care Council for Wales is a good example of a new and dynamic regulator.
    They only regulate social work and social care at the moment but I would not mind at all if they regulated me. At least they understand the integrated nature of care - look at some of the work they have done over the past two years. They do understand that care of the older person is mainstream to the NHS and social care.
    Social workers are educated to a generic standard and then specialise post qualifying.
    Maybe nurses need to do this - they might get better education in practice if there was a stronger focus throughout their education on the fundamentals of care and nursing skills.


    Only some thoughts - willing to read more.

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  • there should be one regulatory body in the EU for all healthcare professionals if the want these individuals to be able to work in any of the member countries and as European standards of medicine and care and level of education are much higher and better organised than they are in the UK. If the UK disagree then we should leave the EU and run our own affairs instead of all these half baked, inefficient and money wasting attempts and anger every time an EU law is imposed!

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  • Steve Williams

    Here’s the telling quote folks....

    “Hi Steve

    Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, your first comment in this thread did include words that we do not consider suitable for our website, so it was removed.

    Regards,
    Online Editor”

    So the fact that my original message contained no other different words than “Heheheheheee...” and “thank the lord he has gone” you took it upon yourself “Online Editor” to remove the whole of my message...

    You guys at the Nursing Times are really the limit. You really should be ashamed of yourselves. How long ago was it since any of your senior “hacks” (or editor) in the office actually spent a couple of shifts on the front-line of nursing?

    How dare you censor our messages. We are REGISTERED NURSES, we pay your wages. If we didn’t exist you’d have nothing to write about in the first place....

    ....and - to tell the truth - that’s the trouble about Nursing today... there’s too many professional leeches! They suck us from ABOVE in the form of an overblown management and the NMC. They suck us from BELOW in the form of the Daily Mail... and they suck us from ALL SIDES in the form of the RCN and The Nursing Times.

    38 years I have dedicated my life to this profession and believe me it is still stuck in the 1920‘s. Florence may have gone along with the old Matrons and Sisters.... but the leeches have made sure that nothing has changed.

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  • Hi Steve<br/><br/>Please refer to the terms and conditions of this site that states "You may not use obscene or offensive language."<br/><br/>http://www.nursingtimes.net/terms-and-conditions/<br/><br/>Thanks<br/>Online Editor

  • tinkerbell

    Mike where the Dickens Weir Hughes are you? I love your passionate, heart felt replies. We're all doing our best to hold fort but may need some backup, things are pretty grim and getting grimier by the day, hour. Hope you are OK.

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  • tinkerbell

    Steve Williams | 12-Jan-2012 1:47 pm

    Steve just apply for the post, no hard feelings, let bygones by bygones. All friends now etc.,

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  • Steve Williams

    Tinky

    I hope he's OK too. Let's just hope he's temporarily strained his USB connection!

    Steve.

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