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Nurses should be banned from top NMC job, says super regulator

  • 45 Comments

Practising nurses and midwives should be banned in future from the top job at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, according to the body responsible for overseeing the troubled regulator.

The council’s senior executive holds the joint post of chief executive and registrar, and is responsible for both running the organisation and managing admission to the NMC register. 

The NMC’s last permanent chief executive and registrar, Dickon Weir-Hughes, was a registered nurse, though his interim replacement Jackie Smith is not.

But the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence has called for the law to be changed to “prohibit” the appointment of a registrant as registrar, in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

It argues that the registrar has “considerable power” and their “integrity and independence from the profession should be beyond question”.

The CHRE has also recommended that lay members should form the majority over registrants on the NMC’s ruling council.

The CHRE’s comments come in response to proposals from the law commissions of England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to restructure the way the NMC and other regulators operate. Its views are likely to be highly influential on the commission’s final recommendations to ministers.

However, the proposed move away from professionally led regulation is likely to be unpopular with nurses. A Nursing Times survey earlier this year found 71% of respondents though it was vital a nurse or former nurse was either chief executive or chair of the NMC.

Unison and the Royal College of Nursing have indicated that they would like to see at least one of the top positions held by someone with a nursing background.

But CHRE chief executive Harry Cayton said: “Regulation is solely and only about protection of the public. It is not about the promotion or enhancement of the status of any profession; that’s the domain of the professional associations and royal colleges not the regulator.”

The CHRE also backed the commissions’ proposals to introduce “financial penalties” for misconduct or failure to comply with fitness to practise proceedings, which were revealed in March.

  • 45 Comments

Readers' comments (45)

  • tinkerbell

    Good old Judge Judy. Straight talking, no nonsense. As she would say 'beauty fades, dumb is forever'.

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  • Self Regulation does not work. Too many vested interests - look at the Press Commission!! Does the public want further expense such as the Leveson inquiry?

    As a registered nurse of considerable years and experience I just want nursing to be regulated properly.
    No vested interest, no conflicts, total accountability.

    Get rid of the Royal out of RCN - they are a union after all and do nothing to improve practice - in fact practice has been unsupported and got worse by the poor leadership from the RCN.

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  • I so agree with Mike Stone, I cannot see the GMC agreeing to a non-medic! And haven't the biggest complaints about the NHS come from people saying we shouldn't have put an M&S manager in place. Why would we want a non-nurse to be responsible for ensuring nursing is a valuable, quality profession? Although I wish that either the NMC or the RCN had more clout around ensuring the education of nurses post qualification.

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  • So hospital are managed by accountants, nurses are to be regulated by goodness know who without experience of the professional body they represent AND we are told 60% increased fees is necessary? Why on earth do we need to be registered as nursing professionals any more, if we are represented by non nursing body of people? Please enlighten us because along with everything with the word nurse the profession appears to being eroded.

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  • "And haven't the biggest complaints about the NHS come from people saying we shouldn't have put an M&S manager in place."

    don't know about him/her but if Mag Thatch and her health minister hadn't sought advice from the Sainsbury's grocer, Jo Griffiths on how to run the NHS, General (industrial-style) Management, which attempts (and sadly fails) to process and manage human beings like commodities would never have been introduce and the NHS would have continued to run far more effectively as far as quality of care goes under the direction of doctors and nurses and other hc professionals who are the only ones who truly understand and are professionally trained to meet the needs of their patients.

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  • I do not wish to have a rag and bone man regulate my profession, and have to pay dearly for the privilege! The NMC will have to come up with some better ideas.

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  • Florence

    I agree with Mike Stone and Candy Cooley ! Yes go on ahead just so long as The GMC agrees to regulation by a non- medic !
    Obviously we require a Nurse who has at least dual registration . With extensive clinical and senior management experience.Obviously educated to at least degree level. And a Nurse with a law degree too would be an absolute bonus.
    It is only common sense that we are regulated by a Nurse.

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  • We would need a very detailed job description to see all that is entailed before passing any judgement but at first glance it seems that it a post that should be filled by a registered nurse with considerable experience in the field as well as adequate training management.

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  • Practising nurses and midwives should be banned in future from the top job at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, jolly good, I'm a plumber, so let me do it.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Jun-2012 8:21 am

    as a plumber you must have excellent organisational skills. You're on!

    Are you sure you are not a GU nurse or surgeon! in which case you would not qualify for the job!

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