Nurse council keeps adjudication powers

Nurses have welcomed the government’s long awaited white paper on healthcare regulation which will see the NMC stay nominally in charge of adjudicating fitness to practice cases.

Christine Beasley, chief nursing officer
Christine Beasley, chief nursing officer

In contrast, the GMC will have to submit its cases to an independent tribunal, probably chaired by a judge and including a lay member and a doctor.

However, the NMC and other healthcare regulators will simply be forced to ensure that panellists sitting on fitness to practice cases are selected, trained and appointed by the independent tribunal.

The NMC said it felt the government had listened to their concern that losing control of who is struck off the register undermined the concept of professional self-regulation.

However, while launching the white paper, health minister Andy Burnham and Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley said they would like to see all regulators eventually follow the same route as the GMC.

Mr Burnham said ultimately they wanted all adjudication on fitness to practice to be independent but other regulators would be allowed more time to do so.

The white paper also stipulated that NMC council members will no longer be elected but appointed through the Appointments Commission, and regulators should become smaller and 'more board-like'.

The white paper also outlined plans for revalidation of all health care professionals but left the matter of whether GPs should have to revalidate their practice nurses as a matter for further discussion.

Meanwhile it also recognised the need for standards of advanced nursing practice. The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence should work with the NMC to ensure its current proposals for a new register for advanced nurse practitioners are harmonious with European and international standards.  

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