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Professional Regulation

‘We can be kind and regulate well’, insists new NMC Chief

“Our new Fitness to Practise approach is designed to be more mindful of the impact of our processes on registrants”

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Andrea Sutcliffe NMC
NMC

Everyone involved with Fitness to Practice cases should be shown dignity, respect and given a voice.

The new Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council has said the regulator needs to be more empathetic – showing everyone involved in fitness to practice cases dignity and respect while ensuring they are given a voice.

Since being appointed last month, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE has promised major reforms to the regulator and claims she is listening to the concerns of the “nurses, midwives and nursing associates who deliver fantastic care day in, day out”.

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In her blog, Ms Sutcliffe reflects upon the impact fitness to practices cases can have on both the patients and registrants involved.

She said, following the Westminster Health Forum Professional Regulation event; “Regulators, doctors, lawyers and academics were speaking about professional regulation and possible reform. There were heartfelt pleas, particularly from Dr Jenny Vaughan and Dr Matthew Tuck, for registrants involved in Fitness to Practise procedures to be treated fairly and with compassion. This is something we agree with at the NMC.

“Our new Fitness to Practise approach is designed to be more mindful of the impact of our processes on registrants. We have more to do to ensure our intentions are made real but the commitment to improve is there.”

Adding; “It’s important for professionals affected by regulation to have a voice and for that voice to be listened to. It’s equally important for the public and people affected by poor care to have a voice too and for that voice to carry weight.

“If we don’t recognise both perspectives then it may feel that treating people fairly and with compassion is an either/or debate – it’s either the nurse, midwife, doctor or the individual affected. That doesn’t help anyone. When we talk, as I think we should, about the human impact of regulation, then we need to include both the public and professionals affected and consider how we make sure everyone feels they are being treated with dignity and respect”, she said. 

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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