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NMC welcomes the Department of Health’s response to consultation on changes to its legislation

11 January 2017

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) today welcomed the Department of Health’s response to their recent consultation on changes to the NMC’s legislation. The response signals the Department’s intention to move forward with a number of long awaited changes to our legal framework.

These fundamental changes, which will modernise midwifery regulation by separating the function of supervision of midwives from regulation, will ensure that we are now fully responsible for all aspects of midwifery regulation. Changes will also remove the statutory requirement for the Midwifery Committee.

There will also be essential changes to our fitness to practise legislation, with new powers to resolve some cases more quickly, taking only the most serious cases to a full hearing.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar said:

“I have long maintained that our current legal framework is out of date and in need of significant reform and I am pleased that the Government has recognised this. We have worked closely with the Department of Health on these important changes which will enable us to become a more efficient and effective regulator, better able to protect the public.”

Minister of State for Health Phillip Dunne said:

"We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare service in the world - by giving the NMC direct responsibility for regulating midwives, and making the NMC’s assessment of midwives’ and nurses’ fitness to practise more efficient, these changes will help to make midwifery and nursing as safe as it can be”.

These important proposed changes to midwifery legislation come after a number of critical incidents and independent reports which confirmed the current arrangements for midwives are not appropriate for public protection. They will help to ensure the safe and effective practice of midwives, with regulation of midwifery that is proportionate, fair and focused on public protection.

Work has already begun within the sector to establish a new model of supervision outside the NMC’s legal framework, which will help to ensure that the things about supervision most valued by midwives continue in the future.

The NMC will continue to work closely with the Government and key stakeholders on the implementation of these changes and to ensure the appropriate transitional arrangements are in place.

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Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office 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.
  3. Read the Department of Health's consultation response