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'Nursing is entitled to an effective regulator'


We’ve probably all got a few wardrobes that are a little bit cluttered and we wouldn’t want people to peer into for too long.

Still, we shut the mess away behind our closet doors, and comfort ourselves with the thought that at least we are a few piles of used Christmas cards short of appearing on a Channel 4 documentary about our propensity to hoard.

But the Nursing and Midwifery Council cannot enjoy such blissful ignorance and is having to throw open its cupboard doors to the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence for its second strategic review in four years. And while it says that it’s keen to work with the CHRE, everyone in its headquarters must have some trepidation about what the report will say once it is published in May.

The CHRE says this will be different to the review in 2008 – it will be “forward looking”. But in the process, it’s surely going to have to take time looking back at what exactly has been happening.

Could it be the culture – called into question once before when the council found examples of “inappropriate behaviour”? Or is it the pressure – are there just so many nurses on the world’s largest register that it is just impossible to regulate it efficiently?

It has been asked whether the NMC focuses too much on education – but as was noted at the CHRE press conference last week, a failure to get training right will lead to greater problems later.

Coincidentally, the findings are likely to come just before the Francis report into what happened at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, when the profession will be under scrutiny. This is the time to sort the NMC out once and for all – and they should hide nothing as the CHRE attempts to get to the root of the problem.

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Chat live with the editor and other nurses at every Wednesdayat 1pm about this column



Readers' comments (7)

  • George Kuchanny

    Hear Hear Jenni (as they say in Parliament)

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  • michael stone

    The NMC has, in fact, probably got too much to do.

    If only operational-level behaviour were more suited to sorting out problems as they arise, rather than becoming overly-defensive and bureaucratic (which slows everything down, so that by the time the NMC becomes involved positions have hardened and it is almost impossible to work out precisely what did happen), the NMC might have less problems to deal with in the first place.

    What Mid Staffs required, as I think everyone accepts, was a combination of a more honest and open culture (so that patients properly understood how poor some of the service was) and more power for patients and front-line clinicians to challenge senior management over things which made patient care unacceptable.

    How you achieve that, is a different issue - much more transparency seems to be part of the answer.

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  • Mr Stone ----

    You give Mid Staffs as an example.

    What you fail to acknowledge is that with a VERY few exceptions, the Nursing Staff and Senior? clinicians actively colluded in providing a poor standard of care.

    Even the RCN was involved in the "cover up" and failed to support one of the few whistle blowers who was actively bullied by "senior nurses"

    Wishy-washy words like "transparency" will not alter the situation. Nurses need to distance themselves from bad practise, learn to expose it and stand up for themselves and their patients.

    A good start might be made by ensuring that all "nurse managers" who fail to support staff and who permit unsafe staffing/practise to continue are identified to the NMC as being in breach of the code!

    Unfortunately Mr Stone you and your colleagues prefer to whining rather than tacking positive action

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  • I am interested to know what happened to the UKCC and why it was replaced by the NMC? Is it that the UKCC was not found to be fit for purpose either?

    was their organisational structure and function the same as that if the NMC? If not, what are the differences?

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  • michael stone

    JRT | 18-Feb-2012 5:50 am

    JRT, what happened at Mid Staffs seems to have stemmed from a very bad management, some 'bad' clinical staff, and those 2 groups effectively 'bullying' anybody who tried to draw attentions to the issues.

    I fully acknowledge the things you raised in your post, but 'shining a light into the dusty corners so the dust can be seen' is a good start (transparancy). I'm a layman - I'm not sure that I have any 'colleagues'.

    And I keep stating on these pages, that nurses need to stand up for themselves more.

    Where exactly is it, that you think we do not agree with each other ?

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  • michael stone | 18-Feb-2012 10:57 am


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  • michael stone | 18-Feb-2012 10:57 am

    give it a rest.

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