We put together a signatory letter from our group. members on the aspect of how the NMC send out written correspondence. We got a fair response back from Andrea Sutcliffe NMC CEO and registrar, on 23rd September 2020, which was encouraging. There are still some occurrences on a regular basis so we are encouraging our members to place a complaint via the complaints line, as reiterated by Andrea Sutcliffe at a recent meeting with her, so they can be tracked and actioned properly. It is hard for a registrant to make a complaint as they see this as a negative and fear that this may have a detrimental affect on the outcome of their case. Those under union representation also tell them not to communicate with the NMC direct which can also hinder resolution.
Following the petition, the agreed points were:
1. Case holders need to be available when registrants receive emails so they can explain and clarify. Moving forward they will clearly indicate their contact number and working hours in their email signatures, Also remind case holders to provide alternative contact details where appropriate, for example, if they are going on annual leave, or if they are having problems with telephone accessibility whilst working from home.
2. They will ask case holders to not send correspondence which may cause distress to anyone involved in a case after midday on Fridays so that registrants aren’t left over a weekend worrying.
3. Try to avoid comms being sent out if there is a potential bank holiday to cause delays.
4. Complaints, if the above is not being done, can be made directly to our Customer Enquiries and Complaints Team
First published Sept 2nd 2020
One aspect of the Fitness to Practice process that causes registrants the most distress is the way they are communicated with by the NMC.
Often they wait for weeks if not months for updates on their case – or even to know if the alleged referral has transpired into an actual referral only to find when the communication comes a series of letters that are confusing, complicated, repetitive and at times impossible to even access.
Communication often comes out on a Friday – meaning the registrant is unable to raise any issues until the following week – causing them increased stress. Files are encrypted and passwords not accompanying them immediately and even when they are not always possible to open.
There is no warning that the communication will be coming out and little support when it does.
The NMC has shown commitment to recognise the impact that proceedings have on the registrants and include the nurse or midwife in their strive to ensure it is “person-centred”.
We feel this starts with the basics – how that initial communication occurs can make all the difference between a positive experience and a highly stressful one – the difference between the registrant engaging and not.
144 nurses and midwives have now signed this letter to Andrea Sutcliffe, CEO of the NMC to change the way communication occurs.
Let’s hope it is acknowledged and actioned.