This site is intended for health professionals only

NMC forced to withdraw 'unlawful' sanction guidance

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has delayed the publication of its updated indicative sanctions guidance due to protests made by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Indicative sanctions guidance assists NMC panels in making a decision about which sanction to impose when a nurse or midwife has been found guilty of misconduct.

Concerns over the guidance grew as the RCN found the regulator had laid plans to forge ahead with publication without consulting with the union and “other interested parties”.

According to NMC Council papers, seen by NiP, the updated guidance was approved for publication in October 2011 and was due to be implemented on 4 December 2011.

The RCN's legal team deemed this practice to be “unlawful”, threatening the NMC with legal action unless an immediate withdrawal of the new guidance took place.

The regulator has now pulled the published guidance and opened it up for consultation, which is due to close on the 24 February.

“This was an excellent result for the legal team and wider RCN,” said Jonathan Green, a Senior Legal Officer at the RCN.

“By taking this action, we were able to ensure fair treatment and to stand up for the RCN members who are answerable to the NMC.”

Question: Was the RCN right to intervene in the publication of the NMC's indicative sanctions guidance?