NMC launches new support service in response to lessons learned review

18 December 2018

A new public support service from the nursing and midwifery regulator has been launched offering dedicated, personalised support to members of the public who raise concerns about nurses and midwives.

Following the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) Lessons Learned Review into failings in care at Morecambe Bay, the NMC recognised that it had got it wrong in the way it treated people raising concerns. The introduction of the new public support service is one of the ways people will get the support they need and deserve.

Anyone making a complaint about a nurse and midwife will now receive one to one support from the beginning, with a dedicated, named contact available to them throughout the processes. An anonymous emotional support line will also be made available for all those who need it.

To continually improve the way it treats those raising concerns the regulator has established an independent group of patients and family members to challenge its thinking. A network of 60 NMC employees has also been set up to spearhead projects that will improve the way employees across the whole organisation communicate with people.

Head of Public Support Service Jessie Cunnett, said:

“Making a complaint about a nurse or midwife can be a distressing and uncertain time and we know we haven’t always got things right. But we’re absolutely committed to listening to people’s concerns and giving them a voice when things go wrong with their care, treating them with the respect, compassion and humanity they deserve.
“But the support service is about much more than improving how we write a letter or answer a phone call. It’s about our employees establishing a relationship with those receiving care and their loved ones so that we’re able to better meet their needs and support better, safer care.”

Sarah Seddon, the first person to contact the service directly said:

“During my first five months of contact with the NMC I felt let down, alone and confused – my complaint felt like just another in a long line, being handed from one person to another. During that time no one ever said they were sorry to hear about what had happened to me.
“Trying to get someone to hear me was exhausting – I wasn’t writing emails for the fun of it.
“Since being in contact with the support service my opinions of the NMC have been completely reversed. I finally saw compassion, quick responses and I was spoken to as an equal. I believe that the NMC should be very proud of the way that their public support service is developing. It is not a ‘nice to have’ service – it is absolutely essential. It really did make an enormous difference to me.”

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Notes to Editors
1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office on 020 7681 5409 or email media@nmc-uk.org.

2. We’re the independent regulator for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. We hold a register of all the 690,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates who can practise in the UK. Better and safer care for people is at the heart of what we do, supporting the healthcare professionals on our register to deliver the highest standards of care. We make sure nurses, midwives and nursing associate have the skills they need to care for people safely, with integrity, expertise, respect and compassion, from the moment they step into their first job.

3. Learning does not stop the day nurses, midwives and nursing associates qualify. To promote safety and public trust, we require professionals to demonstrate throughout their career that they are committed to learning and developing to keep their skills up to date and improve as practitioners. We want to encourage openness and learning among healthcare professions to improve care and keep the public safe. On the occasions when something goes wrong and people are at risk, we can step in to investigate and take action, giving patients and families a voice as we do so.