The Nursing and Midwifery Council has met 23 out of the 24 Standards of Good Regulation, according to the healthcare regulator watchdog.
The Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) review into the NMC’s performance over the 2016/17 period found that the nursing regulator had met all of the Standards of Good Regulation for three domains – guidance and standards, education and training, and registration.
For the final domain, fitness to practise, the NMC met nine of the 10 Standards of Good Regulation. They failed to meet standard 7, relating to updating all parties within a fitness to practise case as to its progress.
The PSA stated that the Lessons Learned review, published last month and which looked into the NMC’s handling of cases brought against midwives at Morecambe Bay hospitals, ‘identified a number of concerns about the way in which the NMC dealt with families, which are ongoing and apply beyond the relatively small number of cases that we looked at as part of that review’.
The PSA added: ‘We considered carefully whether our concerns simply applied to a small number of complex cases. However, some of the problems that we identified (for example, the approach to informing complainants about decisions and the other points that were identified as part of the Lessons Learned review) apply across the board to the NMC’s complaints handling and are not restricted to these cases.’
As a result, the PSA concluded that they ‘could not be satisfied’ that the NMC met standard 7.
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith felt the hard work that the organisation had put in over the last year had been ‘recognised’ in the PSA’s review of their performance.
She said: ‘In the last year we’ve been working hard to protect the public, and this has been recognised today. But the report identifies that we need to improve the way we support those going through fitness to practise cases, echoing the findings of the PSA’s Lessons Learned review. We take the findings of both of these reviews extremely seriously. In recent years we have made significant improvements to the way we work but we know that there’s much more to do.
‘We are committed to reaching out to the families who have lost loved ones or suffered in other ways in the Morecambe Bay cases. We will continue to build on the work of recent years as we change and improve to better support those involved in fitness to practise cases.’
The PSA delayed their review into the NMC’s performance for the 2016/17 period to allow publication of their report into the NMC’s handling of the Morecambe Bay scandal, which found ‘serious concerns’ over the transparency and openness of the regulator.