Published On: 3 August 2023Tags: , ,

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) today publishes its first Spotlight on Nursing and Midwifery report.

NMC aims to publish a Spotlight report annually, sharing insights from its work to support sector wide learning and improvement for the benefit of people who receive care.

This report signals the NMC’s commitment to make better use of its regulatory data. The insights in the report come together to tell a powerful story about contemporary nursing and midwifery practice.

NMC data shows that growth of the UK nursing and midwifery workforce has been increasingly reliant on international recruitment over recent years. There are more than 164,000 internationally educated professionals on the register, and when they are well supported, they make vital and welcome contributions to people’s care. However, that support is not always evident, and when the NMC spoke with some new international recruits, they shared worrying experiences including:

  • not feeling respected or treated the same as colleagues
  • racist and derogatory language
  • feeling misled during recruitment processes.

The report also finds inconsistent support for new recruits. When employers deliver support programmes effectively, new staff find it extremely helpful. However, there are programmes that are being delivered haphazardly, with wide variation in the way the are organised and supervised by different employers. As a result, only a minority of new professionals stated in the research that they feel highly satisfied with their support experience, and there is a feeling that its potential is not always being met.

The NMC also analysed its fitness to practise data, which indicates some recurring themes when maternity care goes wrong. These include delays in escalating care in emergencies, together with poor communication between colleagues, and with women and families. Their data reflecting some of the issues raised in recent inquiries.

To help find solutions to some of the issues highlighted in Spotlight on Nursing and Midwifery report, the NMC has produced new guidance: –

  • The principles of preceptorship – to support professionals who design and oversee nursing support programmes. Consistent implementation of these principles should support more new staff to integrate into their teams, grow in confidence, and begin their journeys as knowledgeable and skilled practitioners providing safe, effective and kind care for people.
  • The best midwifery care happens in partnership working with women and families, ensuring the best possible experiences for them during pregnancy, birth and postnatally, to help address issues in maternity care.


Race Equality Foundation said:

“Nurses, midwives and nursing support workers are cruicial to our health service. Many employed in these roles are Black, Asian and minority ethnic people. These professionals should feel vaulued, respected and given the support they need to work at their best.

We welcome this annual spotlight on UK nursing and midwifery. It gives an opportunity to highlight best practice, as well as scrutinise regulatory failure, and produce guidance for future benefit.”

Read the report here.

More information about NMC data and insight work is available here.