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NMC updates guidance on abuse by nurses outside of work

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has updated its guidance on how it deals with concerns about registrants’ behaviour outside of professional practice, including sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and discrimination.

The regulator announced today that it had strengthened its fitness to practise (FtP) guidance for NMC decision makers, to make clearer that it treats concerns of this kind “extremely seriously”.

“Our updated guidance makes clear that we treat concerns of this nature extremely seriously”

Matthew McClelland

While all nurses, midwives and nursing associates have a right to private and family life, the NMC still receives complaints about registrants’ behaviour outside of professional practice.

According to the NMC’s FtP guidelines, the regulator will take action when a professional’s conduct outside of work either indicates deep-seated attitudinal issues which could pose a risk to the public in professional practice, or is capable of undermining public trust and confidence in the profession.

The NMC highlighted that sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and the neglect or abuse of children or vulnerable adults were behaviours “that are likely to impair a professional’s fitness to practise” and could lead to someone being removed from the register.

The updated guidance noted that there may be circumstances where the NMC needs to investigate allegations that the police have decided not to pursue, such as an allegation which suggests potential risk for people receiving care.

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The regulator said its decision making would “always be based on careful assessment of the evidence available”.

In addition, the guidance urged decision makers in the FtP process to refer to the Crown Prosecution Service guidance on common myths and stereotypes around rape and sexual offences.

It said it would deliver training for decision makers about the behaviours covered in the guidance, the impact they could have on people and why the regulator took them seriously.

Matthew McClelland

Matthew McClelland, executive director of strategy and insight at the NMC, said: “There is absolutely no place for sexual misconduct, domestic abuse, or neglect or abuse of any kind in society, including in health and care.

“Our updated guidance makes clear that we treat concerns of this nature extremely seriously.

“Whether they occur within or outside of a professional setting, we will always look into this type of allegation carefully and consider taking the strongest possible action if needed for public safety and public confidence in the professions.”

 

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