Is the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC https://www.nmc.org.uk ) Fit to practice (FtP)? But maybe more importantly, is the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/home )fit to judge? Not according to their latest performance review of the NMC’s Fitness to Practice outcomes at the beginning of June this year. It makes for unbelievable absence of insight or sound judgement. Instead it is another part of the destructive and failing system.
To see the document for yourself go to
Astonishingly the report concluded that the NMC met all but one of its standards, namely that bereaved families in the Morecombe Bay inquiry had their concerns ignored, and had not been treated with respect nor kept informed of progress.
But wait a minute, nor do registrants get treated with respect, nor are they kept informed of the progress of their interminable cases. All part of the wearing down process that makes it so difficult for registrants to defend themselves.
Moreover and shockingly, the fact that 1170 registrants’ cases had not been concluded for over a year, that 294 registrants were still waiting after 2 years and 71 were still waiting after 3 years was ok?
I quote ‘There has been a significant reduction in the number of cases over 52 weeks held by the NMC, from 1,437 last year to 1,170 this year. The numbers of cases older than 104 weeks and 156 weeks have only increased by 13 and 23 respectively, indicating that the reduction in cases over 52 weeks has not just been achieved by cases passing the threshold into the next age category (whatever that means?). The overall caseload over 52 weeks has reduced this year by 231 cases.
Can no one in the Department of Health see these glaring failures of judgement?
There is now significant help from a closed Facebook support and information group called NMC Watch: registrant care (previously The case against the NMC) founded by Cathryn Watters. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/460231920997990 if you wish to find out more.
The group has powerful and substantive evidence of the harm that the NMC process causes with 60 responses to their on line survey available from the Facebook group or myself as a Word document, by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org.
But it seems the PSA is not interested or just doesn’t have insight into the terrible harm caused.
It should be known that people who have already been through a disciplinary process with their organisation, are now in a poor state of physical and mental health. Finances are probably in dire straits too, not to mention other aspects of their lives. The thought of now fighting for their registration sends their anxiety levels ever higher.
Because of the complex legalities around the proceedings, registrants find it difficult to understand the process. The unions often don’t help, warning people against writing anything of significance in case they make their situation worse, whilst not understanding that the NMC views such lack of response as a lack of insight, which makes their defence even harder.
There is much more in the PSA report that signifies how poor the FtP process and outcomes is. The PSA is immersed in their processes and just can’t see how the processes and legalities are failing staff most cruelly.
Is the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Fit to practice? Am I wrong in claiming that the NMC is not Fit to Practice?
Staff who have been through the FtP process know that it is definitely not fit to practice for many reasons. Length of time taken is an obvious one, remembering that many of these people should not have been disciplined or referred in the first place. Another reason is the way people are considered guilty unless they have good evidence to show they are not.
Very often, the manager’s word is believed against the registrant’s just because they are the manager. Then there are the lost papers, papers delivered to the wrong address, a lack of any communication and updating, and problems speaking with case workers.
One midwife tells how she and her team waited for 3 hours before they discovered that the NMC court had finished for the day and gone home but had forgotten to notify them. Unbelievable but symptomatic of the disregard they have for the ‘accused’.
Will these injustices and the suffering caused ever end? At the present moment, with the PSA mostly blind to the failings of the NMC, sadly and realistically, I doubt it.