Roundtable report by Ella Sprung, Chair of Sheffield MVP
National Maternity Voices (NMV) was invited to a discussion at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) about their next strategy, which will cover 2025-2030. Ella Sprung, Chair of Sheffield MVP attended.
The NMC regulates nurses and midwives, which means to practise in the UK a nurse/midwife must be on the NMC register and must follow their Code which sets out standards of behaviour. They have a ‘Fitness to Practise’ process whereby a person on their register can be investigated if it is alleged their behaviour hasn’t met the required standards. One part of their role is supporting people on all sides through this process (i.e. bringing a case or being investigated).
There were about 15-20 other organisations at the event, including Healthwatch, the NCT, the NHS Race and Health Observatory, the Patients Association, National Voices, and Tommys. There were also organisations representing older people, carers and children. It was interesting to be part of a discussion with organisations from all sectors of health care, not just maternity/neonatal.
We had several focussed discussions, around the topics of what’s important to people using health and social care and how the NMC can fulfil its responsibilities as a regulator.
Some things that were discussed were:
- access to healthcare, barriers, opaque systems
- what makes care person-centred?
- managing the public’s low expectations of health care services
- the importance of staff being supported and having a positive culture
- how hierarchies within healthcare affect safety/quality of care
- the relationship between patients and health care professionals (described as sometimes like parent-child, with the patient belittled and not expected to be the expert on their own situation)
- digital exclusion
- does everyone need to know about the NMC? or do they just need it to work well in terms of maintaining high standards. There was a suggestion made of one helpline that linked up all of the regulators where the public could go if they wanted guidance with an issue they had encountered in their care
- what role does the NMC have in culture change? i.e. in situations where there’s a wider issue than the behaviour of one person
The NMC team talked at the end about how they work for the benefit of patients/the public but they mostly have contact with the nurses/midwives on their register, so it’s important for them to keep contact with organisations like the ones in the room. They also have a Patient Voice Forum which was established in 2021 where people can share their lived experience, and they run focussed surveys.
By Ella Sprung, Chair of Sheffield MVP