NMC unveils plans to hold 'most' fitness to practise cases in private

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has unveiled plans to change the way in which it deals with fitness to practise cases.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is drawing up plans which will see the majority of fitness to practice cases being held in private rather than in public other than in“exceptional circumstances".

The council admits that the way it currently handles fitness to practice cases at public hearings has unintentionally led to “a culture of blame and denial” and admits a change is needed.

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Registrants have raised concerns about the public process especially when allegations have been found to be false or inaccurate.

Presently, only 25% of fitness to practice cases are concluded without a hearing or in private but after describing the process as “costly and time-consuming” the council have proposed plans that a hearing would only take place in “exceptional circumstances" and the majority of cases should be dealt with at a private meeting.

Last year the NMC said it was looking at legislative changes that would speed up the process if nurses and midwives accepted the concerns about their practice.

The NMC said; "To ensure that registrants who are referred to us can practise safely and effectively, we should enable registrants to remediate regulatory concerns at the earliest opportunity and, if needed, reach an agreed position with us as to how the concern should be dealt with".

"We think that employers are usually in the best position to resolve concerns immediately, and we should only take regulatory action if the concern has already been raised with and investigated by the employer…unless there is an immediate risk to patient safety that we have to deal with".

The draft proposals will be discussed at an NMC council meeting next week on 28 March and, if approved, will be subject to a consultation.

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