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RCN responds to NMC culture review

10 Jul 2024

The nursing regulator must take immediate and ongoing action to resolve its culture and related performance issues.

Nursing and Midwifery Council logo

The RCN has responded to an Independent Culture Review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which prompted the regulator to apologise to nurses, midwives, nursing associates, and members of the public for taking “far too long” to reach decisions on cases.

A full apology was also given to staff who have experienced racism, discrimination or bullying at work, with the NMC acknowledging the clear link between its culture and regulatory performance. In accepting the findings of the review by Nazir Afzal OBE and Rise Associates, the organisation has committed to a change programme rooted in the recommendations.

RCN Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive Nicola Ranger said: “The Nursing and Midwifery Council plays a crucial role in health and care and it must be fit to uphold standards and safeguard the public. This report makes for distressing reading and shows the NMC is failing in a number of its core duties.

“The recognition of the failings in this report is a start. But the trust of nursing professionals and patients will only be re-established through immediate and ongoing action. We are committed to ensuring that, in future, the NMC represents the modern reality and interests of nursing, midwifery and patients.

“Deep-rooted issues take time to resolve but there can be no further delay in addressing the backlog of cases and making genuine improvements to fitness to practise screening, investigation and adjudication. As ever, the RCN will represent the views of many registrants to secure the necessary reforms and improvements.

“The majority of nursing staff will never appear before the NMC but those who do deserve a process which is transparent and fair; free from racism and all forms of bias; and timely, recognising the impact on individuals. The second review, by Ijeoma Omambala KC, must take note of these findings but follow in good time and make more substantive recommendations – the case for change is urgent.

“The RCN is on its own journey and has recently launched a strategy to become a more diverse, inclusive, and reflective organisation that truly understands and represents its members. Through this process, we have seen that many nursing staff experience racism and bullying every day from colleagues and patients - this is never acceptable and the NMC must be fit to play a stronger part in bringing it to an end.”

The RCN is committed to actively monitoring the progress of the NMC’s change plan and ensuring the regulator delivers on its transformation promise.

Any members in need of support with NMC cases or processes should contact the RCN advice team. Our experts are able to provide guidance and representation throughout investigations and hearings to ensure you receive fair treatment.

Page last updated - 11/07/2024