The NMC has said it will remain a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme following an open letter from Woman’s Place UK calling for it to withdraw from the scheme.
The statement from the nursing and midwifery regulator today said the programme – which is aimed at employers and run by LGBT+ charity Stonewall – helps them to create a ‘welcoming environment’ for NMC LGBT+ colleagues and ‘understand and address the challenges they face’.
It also stressed that membership of the diversity programme does not impact its ability to regulate the professions, and does not mean it is ‘affiliated’ to Stonewall or ‘receive legal advice from them’.
This comes after hundreds of nurses and midwives signed a letter, led by Woman’s Place UK, in December that outlined six ‘main areas of concern’ with the NMC’s membership of the programme.
The letter said: ‘We believe that as a profession, there is specific risk to the reputation of nurses and our ability to work within our Code from the NMC’s affiliation with Stonewall. We outline our concerns as nurses who love and care deeply about our profession and patients.’
In its statement, the NMC said it acknowledged the ‘high level of interest in these issues’, and that both trans communities and women ‘face discrimination, inequality and harassment’.
But the regulator continued: ‘It is important to recognise that this is primarily a workforce-facing programme, designed to help us as an employer to create a welcoming environment for our LGBT+ NMC colleagues, and to understand and address the challenges they face.
‘Creating an inclusive workplace for everyone in our organisation is an essential part of the NMC’s values of fairness and kindness. We believe that the Stonewall programme helps us in this regard.’