NMC responds to Secretary of State for Health’s announcement of new plans to improve patient safety and transparency within the NHS

09 March 2016

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has responded to today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to introduce new measures to improve patient safety and transparency within the NHS.

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith said: 

“When things go wrong, it's right that patients should expect a face to face explanation and apology from the doctors, nurses and midwives treating them. This is why, together with the GMC, we introduced guidance on the professional duty of candour so that healthcare professionals fully understand their individual responsibilities to speak up, apologise and take action if things go wrong.

“As the professional regulator of more than 685,000 nurses and midwives, it's vital that we continue to fully address the actions of individuals who fail to uphold the highest standards of patient safety. However, in order to ensure a truly safe healthcare environment, it's equally important that every healthcare professional has the support of an open and honest working environment where they are able to learn from mistakes and feel comfortable reporting incidents that have led to harm.

“In addition to the Duty of Candour guidance, we have already advised our fitness to practise panels, when deciding on an appropriate outcome, that they should take account of whether someone has admitted their mistake and apologised.

“We welcome the direction of travel outlined in the package of measures announced today and will look closely at how these will be implemented in practice. The NMC fully supports the continued drive to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.



Notes for editors

​1.   For media enquiries, please contact Leila Harris-Ryberg on 020 7681 5884 or email media@nmc-uk.org.

2.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK. We exist to protect the public. We do this by maintaining the register of qualified nurses and midwives and setting standards of education, training, conduct and performance. We make sure that nurses and midwives keep their skills and knowledge up to date through a regular revalidation process. If concerns are raised about the standards of a registered nurse or midwife, we have a duty to investigate and, where necessary, take action to protect the public.