Nurses are being asked whether they support the introduction of measures that would remove the need for full fitness to practise proceedings in some situations where registrants admit guilt.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has today launched a consultation on the option of introducing changes intended to improve its management of fitness to practise cases.
One of the changes being considered would see nurses and midwives who admit the stated facts and agree that their fitness to practise is impaired able to voluntarily accept a sanction. This agreement would then be considered by a fitness to practise panel, potentially removing the need for a full hearing.
This process is known as “consensual disposal” and is already used by the General Medical Council for doctors.
The NMC is also looking for opinions on what the objectives of its case management process should be and considering the use of new case management tools, which are intended to improve the efficiency of hearings.
The regulator is facing increasing financial pressures due to its backlog of historic cases, combined with an increasing number of referrals.
Acting chief executive of the NMC Jackie Smith said: “The NMC is absolutely focused on making sure we carry out our fitness to practise functions in a way that is effective, fair, and above all in the public interest.
“If these proposals go ahead we anticipate being able to save time and costs efficiency by minimising the number of hearing days.
“Each hearing day costs several thousand pounds so these proposals would bring much needed efficiencies to the fitness to practise process.”
A 12-week consultation on the proposed changes was launched this week and will close at the end of July.