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NMC slammed for handling of Mid Staffs cases

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been criticised for its handling of disciplinary cases following the Mid Staffordshire care scandal. 

A report into the nursing sector regulator from the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) claims that investigations were poor, decision-making was flawed and record-keeping was lax. 

The PSA carried out an audit of 100 cases dealt with by the NMC's disciplinary committee. 

The report noted that there have been improvements at the NMC, but revealed concerns over poor practice in a number of areas.

A statement from the PSA said: “We were disappointed that the NMC's internal review (in July 2013) of its handling of cases that involved registrants employed by Mid Staffordshire foundation trust did not identify a number of serious issues that we picked up in our audit.”

In total, 56 referrals relating to 55 people were made to the NMC since the date of the first Francis enquiry. 

Official NMC figures show that:  This figure includes all Mid-Staffs referrals since the first Francis report. Of those, 14 reached a substantive hearing: 

 - Five were struck off the NMC register

 - One received a 12 month suspension order.

 - One received a 12 month conditions of practice order.

 - One received a three-year caution order.

 - One received a two-year caution order.

 - Four cases resulted in no impairment/ case to answer and no sanction.

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: “We acknowledge the PSA's findings in relation to our handling of 19 cases relating to Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. 

“We are pleased that the PSA had no concerns with the two cases closed within the audit period and, we are confident that changes made since the other 17 cases were opened and closed have addressed the issues raised.

“In conclusion, we know that there is still more we need to do. However, it recognises the progress we have made and confirms the commitment we made to improving performance."

The full report is available to view on the PSA website