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NMC to cease offering professional advice


The Nursing and Midwifery Council is to discontinue offering professional advice to nurses and midwives via its telephone line and email service at the end of this month.

The decision, which has drawn criticism from the royal colleges of nursing and midwives, is part of the regulator’s attempts to refocus on its core fitness to practise functions in response to concerns raised in January by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.

An NMC spokeswoman said: “We have reviewed our role in providing advice to nurses and midwives and consider that this can lead to confusion about our purpose as a regulator.

“As a result we will be withdrawing our individual telephone and email advisory service from 29 June.”

The spokeswoman said “other mechanisms” – such as managers, professional organisations and unions – were “better placed” to provide “advice and support in relation to professional or clinical issues”.

But Janet Davies, RCN executive director of nursing and service delivery, told Nursing Times: “It is quite unbelievable they are taking away what nurses regard as a useful service when they are trying to increase the fees.”

RCM general secretary Louise Silverton added: “Giving 10 days’ notice for the withdrawal of this service and expecting trade unions to pick up this service is not enough time for the handover, especially as the NMC is planning on raising fees while reducing its services.”  

The NMC spokeswoman added that the regulator’s website had been redesigned to enable easier access to its standards and guidance, and to see which of them was currently under review.

“There will be a separate section focussing on how regulation can be applied in practice, including clear signposting to other organisations who provide different types of information or services for nurses and midwives,” she said.


Readers' comments (68)

  • I'm not sure what shocks me more. The fact that the NMC are withdrawing this service or that any right-minded RN would ask them in the first place.

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  • Pay more... get less... excellent!

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  • I am surprised at the RCN's comment - it is the role of the union and NOT the regulator to be providing this service in the first place. It is precisly the NMC providing this service that has partly led to the confusion amongst the profession as to the regulators role. All the comments from professionals re the NMC displays that perhaps those involved in the education of nurses and midwives should include a section on the role of the NMC. I do agree that such a short notice period of the withdrawal of the service is a little off however....

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  • So exactly what am I paying for? Yes I have the RCN but sometimes it doesn't hurt to have another opnion.

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  • withdrawal of services should mean a reduction in fees!

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  • I a confused.... the NMC are asking US to pay more money each year... BUT with a reduction in services?????? This service is a lifeline for us, as nurses and midvives, to clarify and support us in our professional practice.... shame on you NMC....

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  • i have to agree- yes the RCN can give advise on some professional matters but normally people contact the NMC for clarity on their documents.

    there needs to be more clarity about when to use the NMC for disciplineries, and many cases are being referred when they can and should be managed by the employers- leaving more investigations and increased costs. someone needs to look at the review of the NMC- clearly identify exactly what they should be doing and stick to this

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  • What do we pay them for?
    The service they provide has persistently proved to be inadequate and now they intend to cut services whilst asking for an increase in fees
    I am exasperated and disgusted

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  • Disgraceful, charging more for a reduced service. Apparently this is due to the rise in Fitness to Practice cases, so we are paying for those legal cases. The NMC also say they do not represent nurses and Midwives, that their role is to protect the public, sorry but who protects our profession. With wage freezes etc, not all can afford to be in a union and so should be able to turn to the nationally recognised regulatory body for advice, we all know that even the most senior of staff don't always know the answers or offer good or impartial advice, so what then, a nurse gets struck off for acting on incorrect advice. Clearly not all nurses are fit to practice and therefore are unable to judge what is good or bad advice. Why not look at the root cause and examine nurse education as a whole, ensuring that it gives us nurses fit for task so the NMC can afford to look after us professionally. If they invested in this area, fewer nurses would end up appearing in front of them, food for thought!

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  • I can't really see the point of the NMC. ALL nurses should simply refuse to pay an increased annual fee, and they will have to manage with their current level of income, just like we are having to do. However, I bet they won't because they never seem to want to fight for their rights. In view of the fact the NMC are reducing the service they offer, they should be able to manage financially.

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