We value the diversity of the people on our register, and we’re committed to ensuring our processes are fair and accessible to them all.
We aim to learn from people’s experience of our processes to make changes for the better. That’s why, in 2019, we started Ambitious for Change – a programme of work to assess the impact our regulatory processes have on different groups of nurses, midwives and nursing associates.
First phase of research
In October 2020, we published our first Ambitious for Change report. This examined the impact of our regulatory processes on professionals with different diversity characteristics. It found that sometimes people receive different outcomes from our processes based on who they are. This includes differences in revalidation, fitness to practise, education and overseas registration.
Second phase of research
We’ve already taken some steps to address the findings from phase one, but to be able to tackle any unfairness, we need to understand the reasons behind these differences.
In April 2021, we launched a second phase of research to explore through qualitative research why these differences exist and what it means for the professionals involved.
As part of this, we heard from professionals and employers about their experience of our revalidation and fitness to practise processes. We also completed deeper analysis of our employer referrals alongside workforce data.
The findings highlight opportunities for us to improve our regulatory activities, to ensure our processes are fair for everyone. They also highlight where inequalities which cut across the health and social care sector and exist in wider society are contributing to the disparities we're seeing.
Some further aspects of the second phase of research are ongoing, including an independent review of a sample of our registration appeal and fitness to practise case files. We also need to do more to gain insight about some groups, such as disabled professionals, who we heard less about in this research but who we know have disproportionate experiences of our processes.
Working together to create change
We’ve set out some areas for action for the NMC in this report, which we’ll take forward as part of our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan so that improvements are embedded throughout our work.
However, our research tells us there’s more to do. Systemic problems need system-wide solutions. We need to work with employers and our other partners across the health and care sector – bringing to light what professionals have told us and helping to develop sustainable and effective solutions. Together we must target these inequalities, which have no place in the working environment of our professionals or the care that people receive.
We’re committed to ensuring all professionals are treated equally when it comes to our processes. And we’ll work closely with our partners to help them to do the same.