NMC takes urgent action to improve whistle-blowing advice

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has started work to improve its advice and information on whistleblowing for nurses and midwives.

The action comes after more than 41,000 people signed a petition backing nurse Margaret Haywood who was removed from the NMC register after exposing poor patient care at a hospital for the BBC's Panorama programme.

Representatives from the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, Unison and Unite/CPHVA met the NMC last week to discuss how anxieties about future career prospects, upsetting workmates and management and breaching their code of professional conduct, can sometimes discourage nurses and midwives from reporting concerns.

Clearer signposts to existing advice and information on whistleblowing were strongly recommended along with the need to raise awareness amongst nurses, midwives and their employers about existing safeguards for whistleblowers and the responsibilities of employers contained within the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Christina McKenzie, NMC head of midwifery, said: ‘As a result of this meeting, we will develop information for nurses and midwives setting out the options for escalating concerns appropriately, in a way that is safe for patients and the public, and in a way that will not bring them into conflict with their code.

‘We are addressing this matter with urgency.’


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