Nursing and Midwifery Council
Established in 2002, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is a statutory body set up by the Parliament of the United Kingdom through the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001. The NMC is the UK regulator for nursing and midwifery professions with a stated aim to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public. The NMC maintains a register of all nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses eligible to practise within the UK and by setting and reviewing standards for their education, training, conduct and performance. The NMC also investigates allegations of impaired fitness to practise (i.e. where these standards are not met).
There are currently close to 700,000 nurses and midwives on the NMC register, making the NMC the largest healthcare regulator in the UK. In April 2008, the NMC launched its new 'code' to replace its existing 'Code of Conduct'. The code details the standards of conduct, performance and ethics required of nurses and midwives. In addition to being a statutory body, the NMC is also a charity registered with the Charity Commission, charity number 1091434 and in Scotland with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, charity number SC038362. All Council members are trustees of the charity.
From UKCC to NMC
In 1983, the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) was set up. Its core functions were to maintain a register of UK nurses, midwives and health visitors, provide guidance to registrants, and handle professional misconduct complaints. At the same time, National Boards were created for each of the UK countries. Their main functions were to monitor the quality of nursing and midwifery education courses, and to maintain the training records of students on these courses.
This structure survived with minor modifications up to April 2002, when the UKCC ceased to exist and its functions were taken over by a new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The English National Board was also abolished and its quality assurance function was taken on board by the NMC. The other National Boards were also abolished, but new bodies were created in each country to take over their functions.
Accusations of bullying and racism
On 11 March 2008 two Members of Parliament Jim Devine and John Smith made accusations in the House of Commons of bullying and racism within the NMC. These accusations have been firmly denied by the NMC. The government set up an independent inquiry asking the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence and the Charity Commission to investigate.
On 16 April 2009, nurse Margaret Haywood was barred from practising as a Nurse in the UK following a ruling by the NMC Conduct and Competence committee panel. This followed Haywood’s contribution to a BBC Panorama television programme, exposing significant deficiencies in care at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, an acute teaching hospital in Brighton, England. The public and media response was generally antagonistic towards the NMC, the response being described by the Royal College of Nursing as 'unduly harsh'. On 12 October 2009, the striking off order was dropped, and replaced with a one year caution.
In an early July 2012 report, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) critically examined the leadership of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In late July 2012, a new chair for the NMC, Mark Addison, was appointed by the privy council, an appointment which was subject to criticism by the NMC Council, who described their "grave concern" with regard to what they claimed was a "lack of an open, transparent and equal opportunities process" in regards to the appointment. In contrast, the CHRE stated that they were pleased with the appointment of a new Chair, and that they would "look forward to working with Mark Addison".
In March 2013 the NMC was fined £150,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office after it admitted that personal data, including "highly sensitive" information about nurses and about vulnerable children, had been placed on DVD without being encrypted, sent by courier, and subsequently lost. The ICO said that "it should have been obvious ... that such a contravention would be of a kind likely to cause substantial distress to the data subjects due to the nature of the data involved".
- "About the NMC". Nursing and Midwifery Council. Retrieved 2009-04-28.[dead link]
- "Statement in response to allegations by Jim Devine MP". Nursing and Midwifery Council. Archived from the original on 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
- Carvel, John (2008-03-12). "Bullying and racism claims at nursing council". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-03-12.
- "Nurse struck off register for confidentiality breach". Nursing and Midwifery Council. Retrieved 2009-04-28.[dead link]
- "Calls for whistle-blower review". BBC News. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Over 15,000 sign petition to support struck off RCN member". Royal College of Nursing. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Panorama nurse can return to work". BBC News. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
- "Strategic review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Final report 3 July 2012". Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Appointment of Mark Addison as Chair of the NMC". Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "‘Grave concerns’ over appointment of new NMC chair, Nursing Times 31 July 2012". Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "NMC Chair appointment". Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Nursing watchdog fined £150k for confidential unencrypted DVD loss". The Register. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- NMC Review, the NMC's quarterly magazine
- NMC YouTube channel
- Reclaiming Midwives: Backdrop to the Future Linda Janet Holmes speaks at the University of Wisconsin Health Sciences Learning Center