NMC response to publication of consultation on reform of professional regulation

Published on 25 March 2021

Read our response

The government is inviting responses to a consultation on proposed changes to the legislative framework of nine healthcare regulators, including the NMC.

The changes proposed are wide ranging, but the aim is to put in place a legal framework, which supports responsive and accountable regulation by giving regulators greater flexibility and autonomy to set out their operating processes through rules and guidance.

Commenting on the Department of Health and Social Care's consultation proposals to reform the regulation of healthcare professionals, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC, said:

"It's good news that the government is now consulting on these proposals for regulatory reform. They will help professional regulators respond more quickly and flexibly to the modern-day needs of health and care services by reducing bureaucracy, fostering a fairer culture and supporting the delivery of safe, kind and effective care.

"As the regulator of nearly 725,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates, we play a vital role in upholding the highest standards in nursing and midwifery practice and keeping the public safe. The legal framework that guides has such a significant impact on the way we are able to achieve our ambitions.

"The time has certainly come to make positive changes to our legislation. We look forward to contributing to the consultation and working with the Department of Health and Social Care to set a clear timetable for delivery of changes that will improve experiences for people and their families and our nursing and midwifery professionals for the future."

Find out more about the consultation

Further information

Why are the government consulting?

The government acknowledge that the UK model of regulation for healthcare professionals is rigid and complex and needs to change to better protect the public, support our health services and to help the workforce meet future challenges. In doing so, it needs to be faster, fairer, more flexible and minimise its costs to registrants.

Will the NMC be responding to this consultation?

We're currently working on our response to this consultation, and once we have submitted it, we will publish it on our website.

What does this mean for the NMC, registrants, as well as nursing and midwifery students?

We hope that these proposals will ensure our legislation is fit for the future, allowing us to respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of the public and the workforce. This consultation provides an important opportunity to ensure the NMC and other professional regulators can better shape safe, kind and effective care.

We will provide any updates as soon as we're able. Any proposals from this consultation are unlikely to lead to any changes in the NMC's ways of working until 2023 at the earliest.

What are the timescales for these changes?

The government's consultation closes at 12:15am on 16 June 2021, but we currently do not have a firm timeline for implementation of any proposals.

We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver changes and will keep our registrants and nursing and midwifery students informed.

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