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NMC launches fitness to practise consultation

NMC launches fitness to practise consultation

The Nursing and Midwifery Council wants to hear from nurses about plans to change its fitness to practise process so only the most serious cases go to a full hearing.

It said changes to the rules would make it “more efficient and effective.”

The NMC plans to give advice, issues warnings and recommend undertakings as part of its fitness to practise (FTP) rulings.

It is unable to do this under its current rules. The NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: “I have maintained for a long time that our current legislation is outdated and in need of major reform.”

Ms Smith is a former head of FTP at the NMC. She  said  the current system  takes too long and costs too much to complete cases.

The eight week consultation is a step towards modernising the FTP processes , she said.

It follows a Department of Health consultation which ran between April and June this year which asked or views on changes to the NMC legislation.

Ms Smith said: “We have worked closely with the Department of Health on these proposed changes  which will allow us to develop a more proportionate approach to cases, with new powers to resolve some less contentious matters more simply and quickly, taking only the most serious cases to a full hearing.”

Proposed changes would enables nurses and midwives to agree undertakings with the NMC and allow case examiners to close cases by issuing a warning or giving advice.

Other plans include scrapping the obligation to hold hearings in the UK country where a nurse or midwife is registered and allow courts to replace one type of interim order such as suspension or conditions of practise with another. The NMC also wants to remove the limit on the number of panellists it can appoint so it has flexibility in recruiting people when needed.

The NMC sets out standards expected of nurses and midwives in its code

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It said changes to the rules would make it “more efficient and effective.”