The action plan, released last month, sets out 10 key EDI priorities, goals and
actions that the regulator says will be implemented between 2022 and 2025.
While the NMC Code sets out what regulators can expect from professionals,
including combating discriminatory attitudes, the EDI program sets out the ways in
which NMCs can hold themselves accountable for achieving the same aspirations. In
the plan, the NMC said, "We need everyone to contribute to a culture in which we
learn from our mistakes rather than defend, constantly check decisions for signs of
injustice, and take proactive steps and measures to reduce inequalities.”
"We need to understand the barriers professionals, our colleagues and people face
in accessing healthcare, and work with our partners in the industry to address them."
The priorities and actions set out in this plan are determined by NMC's legal
responsibilities, the EDI-related data and evidence it collects, and information from
subject matter experts, partners, and NMC colleagues.
The data and evidence includes a long-term two-part research program conducted
by the Nursing Administration over the past few years.
In a Phase 1 study published in 2020, the NMC looked at the impact of its regulatory
process on professionals with different diversity characteristics. The study found
multiple differences between people with different characteristics in terms of
education, foreign registration, revalidation and fit to practice (FtP) processes,
depending on who they are.
In a phase 2 study to be published this year, the NMC compared its FtP
recommendation rates. It found protected characteristics made some carers feel like
"outsiders" leading to disproportionate referrals to regulators. It was also found that
an individual's work environment and the nature of their work can influence an
individual's re-authentication or experience.
This research helped regulators understand how some professionals in registries
were getting different outcomes from the NMC process, and subsequently informed
the priorities set in the latest EDI plan. Among the priorities, the NMC said it would
take a "more sophisticated approach" to the collection and use of EDI data, including
incorporating socioeconomic conditions into its data monitoring.
The regulator also said it will learn from EDI evidence to create targeted innovations,
some of which are specifically designed to address evidence of disproportionate
regulatory outcomes for certain groups. Another priority for the NMC is a
commitment to improving the EDI capacity of nursing and midwifery leaders, which
includes setting goals for senior leaders.
In addition to senior staff, it said it would improve the EDI skills of all NMC
colleagues by providing targeted training in areas of focus, such as learning from
discrimination cases. Regarding decision-making within the regulatory context, the
priorities outline how the NMC will "map and improve" EDI-based decision-making.
This will be achieved by enhancing the diversity of decision makers, including the
NMC Council, its Board of Directors, and governing bodies.
Andrea Sutcliffe said: "We are ambitious about what we can achieve by
implementing this plan."
The plan identified the need to "address evidence of discrimination or barriers" in its
processes. It said it would seek to strengthen mechanisms around internal
discrimination, bullying and harassment, as well as "impact and reduce"
disproportionate referrals to practice (FtP).
Finally, the NMC announced that it will better understand the data and evidence it
has about people's experiences with poorer care in healthcare.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of NMC, said: "We recognise
our responsibility to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do as
regulators and employers."
"We believe in the devastating impact of speaking up about discrimination and how
its presence in health and social care structures and individual responses
undermines the safe, effective and friendly care that everyone has a right to expect.
Ms Sutcliffe said, “the priorities over the next three years will continue to be shaped
by developments across the sector”, including evidence of experience of those using
health and care services. “We’ve made progress on our EDI work, but we still have
much more to do, which is why this is an utmost priority for me and everyone at the
NMC. We’re ambitious about what we can achieve through delivery of this plan,
working with our partners and the wider sector.”