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Professional Regulation

NMC chief writes to staff promising to put ‘people at the heart’ of what they do

“As your regulator we recognise that we need to be more person centred. And that starts with how we treat people and how we listen to them.”

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Sue Killen
St John Ambulance

The new Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council has written to nurses and midwives promising to make changes to the organisation.

The interim Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) wrote to all registered nurses and midwives last week to outline her plans for the organisation over the next 6 months.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council announced the appointment of Sue Killen as interim Chief Executive in July following the resignation of Jackie Smith in May. Ms. Killen was previously the Chief Executive of St John Ambulance and prior to that held a range of senior roles in the civil service including as a Director General.

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An advert in The Times reveals the NMC is searching still searching for an “inspirational” new permanent chief executive who will bring a “fresh approach” to the way it works for an “undisclosed” salary.

Putting people at the heart of what we do.

Earlier this year the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) published a report which criticised the way in which the NMC handled concerns about failings in care at Morecambe Bay.

The NMC boss has promised that they will start to take a more ‘person-centered’ approach to dealing with concerns. In the letter Ms Killen said; “Person centred care is something you’re all familiar with. As your regulator we recognise that we need to be more person centred. And that starts with how we treat people and how we listen to them. Over the next few months we’ll be introducing initiatives that will put people at the heart of what we do including the introduction of a brand new public support service.”

Supporting openness and learning.

In March, the NMC announced a new way of dealing with fitness to practice (FtP) complaints which will see the majority of fitness to practice cases being held in private rather than in public other than in“exceptional circumstances”.

Killen writes “As nurses you deliver great care, often under a great deal of stress. Very occasionally things can go wrong. When they do, we know the way we deal with fitness to practise complaints can put a strain on the professionals involved and the people affected by what went wrong. We want to do things differently.

Our new approach to complaints focuses on reducing risk by encouraging openness and learning, not on punishing people for past mistakes. I’m confident this new approach will bring real benefits to the professions and the public alike.”

Developing the next generation.

Following the launch of the new educational standards for undergraduate nurses, the regulator has promised to ensure that the nurses and midwives of the future have the right skills and knowledge to deliver great care.

You can find out more about these new standards on the NMC website.

The right people registered at the right time.

The amount of nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS has skyrocketed in the few years and earlier this month the Royal College of Nursing warned that patient care could be jeopardised if this workforce shortage continued.

The regulator says it can’t fix all of the workforce challenges but it can ensure nurses and midwives have the right skills, adding; “It’s no secret that there are high numbers of vacancies in health and care services, which puts more pressure on you. As a regulator we can’t fix all the workforce challenges. But it is our job to make sure everyone with the right skills and knowledge – no matter where in the world they’re from – can register with us in the quickest and safest way. Which is why we’re looking at how we can make joining our register a smoother, speedier and more consistent process for those from outside the UK.”

Before finishing the letter with a welcome to the new nursing associates that are set to be joining the nursing and midwifery council register in January; “Some of you will have worked with trainees already and I’m sure you’ll have seen how committed they are to caring for patients and supporting you as registered nurses. You can find out more about this new role and our work on our website.”

Professional Regulation

NMC launches an emotional support helpline for staff involved in fitness to practise cases

The helpline is part of the NMC’s bid to become a “person-centred” regulator.

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The helpline will provide emotional and practical support for staff involved in the fitness to practise processes.

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates involved in fitness to practise can now benefit from a new, free and confidential support service.

The NMC’s Careline, operated by an independent provider, will provide emotional and practical support is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for nurses and midwives across the UK, and nursing associates in England, who are involved in the fitness to practise processes.

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Staff can contact the service via phone, live chat or email, to discuss concerns with specially trained counsellors who are experienced in handling sensitive topics.

Launching less than a year since the NMC set up its support service for members of the public who raise concerns when things go wrong with their nursing or midwifery care, the 12-month CareLine pilot launched on World Mental Health day.

Becoming a ‘person-centred’ regulator.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “Following the launch last year of our Public Support Service for people affected by poor nursing or midwifery care, I’m really pleased we’re now able to offer this new pilot resource for professionals.

“The Careline marks another important step forward in truly humanising how we operate and becoming the person-centred professional regulator that the NMC is determined to be with everyone we interact with.

“Less than one per cent of around 700,000 professionals on our register are engaged in our fitness to practise procedures, but we know that it can have a profound effect on those that are. The impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing as a result of being under such scrutiny mustn’t go unrecognised.

“I hope the Careline, and our forthcoming remediation guidance, further encourages support and learning when things do go wrong in nursing and midwifery care. Together, let’s help ensure that all those involved in our processes are treated with kindness and respect.”

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Professional Regulation

NMC to ensure overseas nurses can ‘join the register quickly as possible’

Overseas nurses will now be able to apply to join the register through an online system.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say they have streamlined the process for overseas nurses.

From today, nurses and midwives applying to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register will now be able to apply through an online system allowing them to track their progress instantly.

This follows a number of changes in recent years made by the NMC to better support applicants through the registration process, which included allowing candidates to only re-sit only the portion of an OSCE they failed, improved preparation materials including a mock examination and marking criteria and updated English language requirements.

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As part of the professional regulator’s commitment to improving its approach to overseas registration, the latest changes have been designed to offer a more efficient and streamlined experience and help ensure qualified nursing and midwifery professionals can get into practice where they are needed.

‘Join the UK workforce as quickly as possible’.

According to the NMC, these changes will ensure that highly-skilled nursing and midwifery professionals can join the UK workforce as quickly as possible in order to carry out their role of delivering better, safer care for people using health and care services.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the NMC, said: “We have listened to people’s feedback and I’m pleased to announce that from today nurses, midwives and nursing associates from abroad will benefit from this improved process.

“We want to make sure that those who meet our requirements are able to join our register as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are hopeful that by simplifying the application process, we will continue to make the UK an attractive option for those coming from abroad.

“This is another example of how the NMC is committed to positively addressing nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.”

Making nurses ‘feel as welcome as possible’.

The NMC says it has seen a significant increase – rising from 2,720 last year to 6,157 in March this year – in the number of nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time from outside of the EU.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Nursing and midwifery is at the heart of our NHS and the social care sector, and it is important that we make those joining the health service, whether from at home or abroad, feel as welcome as possible.

“With an increasing number of applicants from around the world, this secure and efficient online service from the NMC will make it quicker for highly trained midwives, nurses and nursing associates to be able to provide compassionate care to their patients.”

“My grandmother worked in the NHS as a nurse, and I so know just how much commitment nurses put in to caring for their patients every day and night.”

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