Unpicking disproportionate referrals
Sam Foster, Executive Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council, considers the data indicating over-referrals to fitness-to-practise processes for certain groups
The need to take action relating to the known issue of disproportionate referrals to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) of certain groups of registrants has been one of the live areas of discussion identified to me since my induction. In 2017 the NMC published research by the University of Greenwich that found that certain groups of registrants are more likely to be referred to NMC fitness-to-practise processes (West et al, 2017). The research also found that the NMC receives more referrals from employers of some groups – including professionals who are male and/or black – compared with the proportions on our register.
In 2020, Ambitious for Change examined the impact of NMC regulatory processes on professionals with different protected characteristics. It found that sometimes people receive different outcomes from the processes based on who they are. This includes differences in our education, overseas registration, revalidation, and fitness-to-practise processes (NMC, 2020). Following this work, the NMC committed to working with employers and partners across the health and care sector to progress solutions that target these inequalities.
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