The Nursing and Midwifery Council is planning a shake-up of the support staff it employs for its fitness to practise hearings.
Nursing Times understands that clerks who attend each hearing – known as Council’s Officers – have been asked to reapply for their jobs.
A spokeswoman for the regulator said there would be no reduction in the number of officers as part of the process, and that rather it was a change in their task and job descriptions.
A spokesman for the regulator added that the move would not affect the speed of case progression.
He said: “The NMC is committed to ensuring that all aspects of its fitness to practise hearings continue to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“We are carrying out a fundamental review of fitness to practise as part of a programme of strengthening and improving the processes. The Council’s Officer role forms part of that review and we are looking at ways of better supporting our independent panels and the decision-making process.”
He added: “This review does not impact on the progression of a case through to a hearing. We will not comment on employment matters.”
The regulator opened new fitness to practise premises in London in March 2009, with greater capacity for hearings, after years of struggling to deal with a historic backlog of cases.
A report from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, published in July last year, commended the NMC for “great progress on improving the overall efficiency of its case progression”.
Although it missed a target to conclude 75% of cases within 15 months of receipt by the end of 2009-10, the CHRE said it was “pleased with the improvement shown” in that 66.4% of cases were concluded within that timeframe.