NMC overhauls Fitness to Practice process to 'encourage a culture of openness and honesty'

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is making changes to its Fitness to Practice process.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council will introduce a new approach to resolving complaints about nurses and midwives.

Under the new arrangements, where nurses and midwives can show that, despite something going wrong, they have learnt from what happened and are safe to continue working, the NMC may not seek to restrict their practice. To develop a culture of openness and honesty the NMC will provide tailored advice and support to employers, nurses and midwives to enable professionals to learn from their mistakes.

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Acknowledging the daily pressures.

The NMC says that by acknowledging the daily pressures and challenges that face the UK’s health and care workforce they can take greater account of the context in which mistakes occur when making decisions.

Trusts, care homes and other employers will also be encouraged to look at concerns before they reach the regulator, as they are best placed to understand what happened and resolve things quickly.

As part of the new process, the regulator will also be providing improved support and information to patients and the public making complaints. This includes providing them with a dedicated point of contact as part of a new public support service designed to ensure people are treated with the compassion and respect they deserve.

'Putting people at the heart of what we do'.

Matthew McClelland, Director of Fitness to Practise, said: “For a long time in healthcare, there’s been a tendency to focus on blame and punishment when things go wrong. But we know that this can mean nurses and midwives are less likely to be open about what happened.

“Our new approach puts people at the heart of what we do and encourages a culture of openness and honesty. This is the best way for nurses, midwives and the wider health and care system to learn from mistakes and prevent them from happening again.”

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