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NMC to address fitness to practise perception as part of draft vision

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will look to strengthen its relationship with registrants after finding its role in fitness to practise ‘highly coloured’ its image.

This is one of five ‘themes’ the NMC set out as part of its new draft strategy for 2020-25, developed in response to views gathered from more than 2,500 registrants, members of the public and stakeholders.  

Registrants felt the possibility of facing fitness to practise sanctions was hanging over them, influencing how they view the NMC and risking any openness and learning that the NMC is striving to achieve with its new fitness to practise approach introduced last year, according to the draft vision published this week. 

It said: ‘Although this will only ever affect a very small numbers of professionals, the possibility of sanction hangs over them and influences their view of the NMC. 

‘There is a risk that this climate undermines openness and learning, which our new fitness to practise approach is intended to enhance. We can do more to address this perception of the NMC.’ 

As a result, the NMC said it was looking to focus more on positive drivers behind good practice such as revalidation.

It would also be working to avoid ‘scapegoating’ registrants for failings that are due more to system pressures than poor individual practice, it said. To do so, the NMC will work more collaboratively with other partners and regulatory bodies across health and care. 

The draft vision also reconfirmed the NMC’s intention to update its approach to specialist and advanced practice. This comes after a major evaluation, published earlier this year, found its post-registration standards were ‘not fit for purpose’. 

The NMC said it must now adopt a ‘dynamic approach’ to practice that would continually review and update standards. It also said it was committed to building its relationship with the public and improving its use of data in order to help drive improvement.  

The NMC is now seeking views on potential work to undertake within the strategic themes, which are: 

  • A dynamic approach to shaping practice
  • Building our relationship with the public
  • Strengthening relationship with our professions
  • Using and sharing research, data and intelligence
  • Close collaboration with others 

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, chief executive and registrar at the NMC, said that the regulatory body ‘must continue to improve’. 

She continued: ‘ That’s why we’re working on a bold plan for 2020 to 2025 that can shape the practice of nurses, midwives and nursing associates to provide the better, safer care we all want to see.  

‘But we are not there yet. For the next twelve weeks, I hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to test, challenge and have their say on our draft vision, themes and priorities for action – and help us agree a shared future direction for 2020 and beyond.’ 

Dr Charlotte Augst, chief executive of National Voices, said: ‘Nurses, midwives and nursing associates play a key role in how people experience health and care services. It is therefore important how they are supported and challenged to shape their work around what matters to people. 

‘People want competent nursing and midwifery professionals to have enough time to treat them with kindness, as part of care that is person centred.  We look forward to continue working with the NMC to turn this ambition into reality.’