NMC launches second phase of equality and diversity research

Published on 13 May 2021

Read more about our next phase of research

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is today (Thursday 13 May) launching its second phase of research as part of its commitment to become a better, fairer regulator, and to understand why people from different backgrounds sometimes experience differences in its processes.

This follows the first phase of the regulator’s 'Ambitious for change' research, published in October 2020, which found that people’s experiences and outcomes of NMC processes can be different, depending on their diversity characteristics such as their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

By inviting thousands of people in health and care settings to participate over the coming weeks – from registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates to employers and members of the public – the NMC wants to capture a range of experiences and opinions to understand:

  • The differences in revalidation rates between particular groups
  • Why it receives more referrals of certain groups of professionals from employers and members of the public compared to the proportions on its register
  • What the impact these differences have for the people involved, and;
  • What it can do, with others, to address these differences

An independent research agency, DJS Research, has been appointed to carry out this research and the NMC expects to publish a final report in the autumn with recommendations.

As well as conducting this research, later this year the NMC will be commissioning an independent review of a sample of registration and fitness to practise case files. This review will aim to understand whether there is disparity in the way the NMC applies its polices, practices and procedures.

It is also taking action to improve its data about where people train and work and improving the equality, diversity and inclusion data it holds about professionals on its register.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:

“The launch of the next phase of our research underpins the NMC’s commitment to becoming a better professional regulator by driving forward equality, diversity and inclusion for all.

“It’s simply unacceptable for anyone to be treated differently based on any aspect of who they are. We know all too well that systemic inequality and discrimination still exist in our society. That’s why we’re determined to really understand why it is that people experience differences in our own processes, and to take action to address any unfairness.

“We’ve made some good progress so far, but there’s still a long road ahead. We want to make a difference for the benefit of the nursing and midwifery professionals we support and the public we’re here to serve.

“Of course, creating long-lasting change that will tackle discrimination and inequality isn’t easy. By working collaboratively with our partners across the health and social care sector, I know we’ll get there.”



  • In 2019 we started an ambitious programme of work to assess the impact our regulatory processes have on different groups of nurses, midwives and nursing associates.
  • To read more about the findings of the NMC’s first phase of its Ambitious for change research published in October 2020, see here.  
  • This first stage of the research was carried out before the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has changed an enormous amount for registered nursing and midwifery professionals across the UK, as well as for members of the public who receive their care. We’ll be using the 2020 report as a baseline to monitor the impact of the pandemic. 
  • Today’s next phase of this research forms part of the NMC’s Together in Practice initiative - aimed at understanding and addressing inequality and discrimination and celebrating the contribution of diverse professionals and colleagues.
  • Other Together in Practice work strands include, Rising Together, the NMC’s internal inclusive mentoring programme for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, along with the NMC being the first health and care regulator to adopt the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).
  • The NMC has commissioned DJS Research Ltd to carry out the research.

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