NMC Chief Executive tells Health Select Committee “lost” bill is imperative to handling of patient complaints

18 June 2014

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith last night told MPs that the government’s failure to include the draft Bill Regulation of Health and Social Care Professionals in this year’s Queen’s Speech was “deeply disappointing” and the Bill was imperative to better handling of patient complaints.

Giving evidence to the Health Select Committee as part of their investigation into complaints and raising concerns, Jackie Smith said: 

“The problem that we have, most simply, is that we have just experienced a 14 percent increase in complaints. Our ability to deal with those complaints is hampered by our legislation and we are deeply disappointed that there is no parliamentary time for the Law Commission Bill.

“The fundamental problem that we have is the majority of our cases end up at a hearing. We don’t have quick ways of dealing with them. It takes a long time, it’s very expensive and it means 80 percent of the NMC’s budget is spent on fitness to practise. That has a direct impact on our registrants in relation to the registration fee. So the Law Commission Bill, particularly in relation to fitness to practise, which would give us something similar to what the General Medical Council (GMC) already has, is what we most need.”

The NMC is calling for all political parties to commit to enacting the Bill in the first session of the new parliament.



Notes for editors

1.   We are the nursing and midwifery regulator for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Islands. We exist to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public. We set standards of education, training, conduct and performance for nurses and midwives, and hold the register of those who have qualified and meet those standards. We provide guidance to help nurses and midwives keep their skills and knowledge up to date and uphold our professional standards. We have clear and transparent processes to investigate and deal with nurses and midwives who fall short of our standards.

2.   Watch Jackie Smith give evidence to the Health Select Committee on complaints and raising concerns here.

3.   For media enquiries, please contact Madeleine Childs at madeleine.childs@nmc-uk.org or on 020 7681 5936.