The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been criticised for underperforming by a leading nursing figure, after a report by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) found that the organisation failed to meet five standards of good regulation.
The Annual Report and Accounts and Performance Review Report 2014/2015, published in June 2015 showed that despite some improvements in the NMC's performance, it was still the only one of nine healthcare regulators not to have reached the threshold of standards for regulation. In contrast to the other eight healthcare regulators, the NMC failed to meet five standards, while the others failed to meet only one or two.
Professor Ian Peate, professor of nursing at the school of health studies in Gibraltar and editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Nursing, said in his latest editorial for the journal: 'What confidence, what respect, can the public and the profession have in a regulator that continues to fail to meet the mark?'
He acknowledged that even though the NMC has improved in certain areas it has 'failed to improve and failed to learn from the other regulators.'
He continued by suggesting that 'as in previous years, the PSA identify the NMC as one of the regulators that gives it continuing concern, even most concern.'
The PSA report identified failings in the NMC's performance in areas such as having an accurate and accessible register, having a system for measuring continuing professional development, and supporting registrants who are undergoing a fitness to practice hearing to participate effectively. However it also noted that progress had been made by the regulator in the speed at which fitness to practice cases are processed, and the publication of the revised NMC code.
At the time of the report's publication, Jackie Smith, chief executive of the NMC said: 'I am delighted that the PSA's annual performance review recognises the improvements we have made and the good practice we have demonstrated in 2014-2015. We have met several more standards than last year, which is a considerable achievement.'
However Mr Peate suggested that: 'Platitudes such as "we are delighted with our progress" are frankly insulting.'