‘Opportunity wasted’ says RCM on NMC BME report

By RCM on 07 April 2017 BME staff NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council FTP - Fitness to Practice

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published findings exploring the progress and outcomes of black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses and midwives going through the fitness to practise (FTP) process. Key findings within the report show that BME nurses and midwives are more likely to be referred to the NMC than their white counterparts. Employers were the largest source of referrals and these referrals were most likely to progress through to the later stages of the FTP process.

However, BME nurses and midwives are less likely to be struck off or suspended than white nurses and midwives.

Commenting on the report, Suzanne Tyler, Director for Services to Members at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is valuable research and confirms what ourselves and others have been saying about this issue.

“Our own research on this has highlighted similar concerns among BME midwives in London. These issues were also raised at a major RCM seminar last year on the experience of BME midwives working in the NHS.

“This is perhaps an opportunity wasted by the NMC to take a central role in ensuring BME registrants are treated fairly.  It would seem from this work that referral of nurses and midwives is inappropriately used by employers in relation to their BME employees. There is a pressing need for all the organisations involved - the NMC, employers, the RCM and others - to work together to stop this happening.

“The evidence suggests that there is discrimination in the NHS and this needs to be tackled and stopped. The NHS needs to make sure that staff are treated fairly and equitably. Until that happens I fear that we will still be seeing our BME colleagues treated unfairly by their employers and by the system and this is not good enough.”

The RCM’s own research shows that BME midwives in London are disproportionately more likely to face disciplinary proceedings, and receive a more severe outcome from disciplinary proceedings.*

To read the NMC report visit https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/news-and-updates/research-on-bme-representation-in-fitness-to-practise-process/.

* BME Midwives, Disciplinary Proceedings and the Workplace Race Equality Standard published in 2016 at https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/Equality%20and%20Diversity%20Publication%20-%20BME%20Midwives%20and%20Race%20Equality%20Standard%20A5%2028pp_Spread.pdf and Royal College of Midwives Freedom of Information Request: Midwives and Disciplinary Proceedings in London published in  2012 is at https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/RCM%20Research%20Report%20Freedom%20of%20Information%20Request%20-%20BME%20Midwives%20and%20Disciplinary%20Proceedings.pdf

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].  

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Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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