Recommendation 226

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s power to intervene prior to disaster

Accepted in part
To act as an effective regulator of nurse managers and leaders, as well as more front-line nurses, the Nursing and Midwifery Council needs to be equipped to look at systemic concerns as well as individual ones. It must be enabled to work closely with the systems regulators and to share their information and analyses on the working of systems in organisations in which nurses are active. It should not have to wait until a disaster has occurred to intervene with its fitness to practise procedures. Full access to the Care Quality Commission information in particular is vital.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council have made it clear that they are determined to work closely with other regulators, including the Care Quality Commission to share information and analyses, and that it should not have to wait until a disaster has occurred to intervene with its fitness to practise procedures.  The government notes that the Nursing and Midwifery Council have stated that they do not wish to be given the role of directly investigating systems issues given that the primary responsibility for such issues rests with the Care Quality Commission, but that they intend to address the underlying issue identified in this recommendation by working closely with the Care Quality Commission and other regulators to ensure that the most serious matters are appropriately addressed in a systematic manner.

Update

The Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Care Quality Commission have refreshed their Memorandum of Understanding that sets out how and when to share information, and are developing a protocol to support staff in implementing the commitments in it. The Nursing and Midwifery Council provides the Care Quality Commission with data from its work on settings due for inspection and is working to improve the quality and accessibility of this data. It has agreed a data strategy to support those improvements.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is undertaking an internal quality assurance exercise on its own practice under its Memoranda of Understanding, the results of which will inform Memoranda being developed with other regulators. It will first report on the activity occurring as a result of partnership agreements and then undertake a more qualitative assessment of the impact of its own practice on safety and quality.

In its materials about how to raise concerns, the Nursing and Midwifery Council helps to signpost the role of system regulators to registrants and members of the public.