A performance review has found that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has met 23 out of 24 standards of good regulation – but needs to address communication issues during fitness to practise procedures.
Since the Morecambe Bay scandal, where 11 babies and 1 mother died at Furness General Hospital, the NMC has had to defend its fitness to practise process after ‘serious concerns’ were raised by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in May.
In a PSA review, the NMC failed under section 7 of the fitness to practise standards – where all parties must be kept updated on cases and supported during the process.
‘We recognised also that the NMC has provided some strong support to witnesses before panels. However, some of the problems that we identified [...] apply across the board to the NMC’s complaints handling and are not restricted to these cases,’ said the review.
The NMC has apologised to those affected by its failings and has pledged to take all complaints seriously and treat families with ‘humanity’.
‘It’s clear that we failed the families and we did not listen to them. As a result there were missed opportunities to deal with concerns more quickly and effectively. We did not show those who raised concerns the respect that they deserved,’ said Philip Graf, chair of the NMC council.
‘We fully accept the recommendations of this review and we’re completely committed to embedding them across the whole organisation. Listening to the families and taking forward the lessons of this review is our number one priority, as is ensuring that when we make mistakes we’re open about them at the time.’
Outgoing NMC chief executive Jackie Smith recognised that procedures need improving: ‘We are committed to reaching out to the families who have lost loved ones or suffered in other ways in the Morecambe Bay cases.’