Our review of the year: progress made and work still to do

Published on 26 July 2022

We’ve published our review of the past year, detailing our work to promote and uphold the highest professional standards in nursing and midwifery.

This includes our latest Annual Report and Accounts, Annual Fitness to Practise (FtP) Report, and revalidation and equality and diversity data for 2021-2022.

2021–2022 was the second year of our five-year strategy, and it was again dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We needed to remain an agile organisation, responding to changing phases of the pandemic and continuing to support our professions. But we also achieved some of our strategic goals.

  • We agreed new standards for community nursing post registration qualifications. This marks the culmination of six years’ work to update all our education standards to support the nursing and midwifery professionals of the future.
  • We updated the test that internationally-trained nurses and midwives, and people re-joining our register after a long period away, have to take. This means people can be confident in the quality of the care they receive – no matter where the professionals looking after them trained.
  • We established our Public Voice Forum, enabling members of the public to help shape our work.

Disappointingly, our latest reports also confirm we didn’t make the progress we wanted in reducing our fitness to practise caseload over the past year. We stabilised our caseload but it’s taking longer than planned to bring it down. We want to reassure everyone that reaching decisions quickly and fairly remains our top priority as we fully understand the impact these processes have on everyone involved.

For our processes to be fair, we need to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout our work. That’s why we also refreshed our EDI framework and developed a detailed action plan. And we’re taking forward the second phase of our Ambitious for Change research into the experience of our processes for people with different protected characteristics.

2021–2022 was also the year in which the Ockenden Report highlighted major failings in maternity care for families at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. Alongside our partners, the findings of the Ockenden Report and forthcoming reports into other maternity services will shape our work in the years to come.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “2021–2022 was another incredibly challenging year for our professions, as the pandemic continued to put massive pressure on health and care services. At the NMC, we needed to balance our role in the national response to the pandemic with the strategic goals set out in our five-year plan.

“Our priority was to reduce our fitness to practise caseload, which had risen partly due to the impact of Covid-19. While we stabilised our caseload, it’s taking longer than planned to bring it down. We’re sorry for the distress that this causes for all involved and we’re absolutely determined to deliver changes in the coming year that will reduce the time people have to wait for a decision.

“We’ve made much greater progress in other key areas, from our new post-registration standards and updated test of competence, to our work on regulatory reform, establishing our Public Voice Forum and our new EDI action plan. None of this would have been achievable without the close collaboration of colleagues across our organisation, working with our partners in health and social care. Our reports reflect their considerable hard work in challenging circumstances. I’d like to thank everyone for their commitment and dedication.

“Finally, our hearts go out to those families using maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital, whose lives have been changed forever and who had to fight so hard to be heard. By working together with other regulators, employers and professionals, we’ll do all we can to ensure that safe and kind maternity care is a reality for everyone, everywhere.”

We’re now in the third year of our five-year strategy. To find out what we’re prioritising for this year and beyond, see our latest corporate plan.


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