Biggar S, van der Gaag A, Maher P ‘Virtually daily grief’ – understanding distress in health practitioners involved in a regulatory complaints process: a qualitative study in Australia. Int J Qual Health Care. 2023; 35:(4)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. NMC meets 17 of the PSA's standards of good regulation in 2022-2023. 2023a. https// (accessed 13 November 2023)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. Annual Fitness to Practise Report 2022-2023. 2023b. https// (accessed 13 November 2023)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. What we do: our strategy. 2023c. https// (accessed 13 November 2023)

Striking the right balance

23 November 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 21


Sam Foster, Executive Director of Professional Practice, Nursing and Midwifery Council, reflects on the need to consider the impact on the wellbeing of professionals of fitness-to-practise processes

I have been building a list of things I would like to have known when I was a chief nurse that I have learnt since joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), to enable me to work with colleagues to influence improvements. Fitness to practise (FtP) is one area I have been considering.

The regulator of the NMC – the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) – requires the NMC to meet certain standards. This year, the NMC (2023a) shared the news that:

‘We haven't met standard 15, which focuses on how quickly we conclude FtP cases.’

With a current FtP caseload of 5577 – as published in the annual report (NMC, 2023b), 33% (1687) of referrals were from patients or the public and 26% (1323) from employers – there is a need for senior nurses to understand their role in supporting the processes to deliver the primary purpose of the NMC, which is to:

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