Nurses Midwives Compassion Fund: don't walk away

Now more than ever we need compassion in our healthcare system.

Colleagues need to show kindness to each other and move away from the blame culture which is becoming more and more apparent according to the stories we hear at NMCWatch.

We are a group of volunteers, all of whom have been through the Nursing and Midwifery Investigation process - we support others that are, not to enable them to relinquish their responsibility in what has gone wrong, but as their peers to help them remediate and move past the incidents positively for both themselves and their patients.

When things go wrong we want someone to blame.
However often when mistakes are made in the clinical setting it is never just one person's responsibility, there are nearly always a series of events which occur and build to the crescendo that is "that incident".
None of us go to work to deliberately cause harm but sometimes things go wrong.

The only true way to learn from mistakes and to ensure they are not repeated is to create an environment that allows honest and open communication without reprisal or fear and encourages the practitioner to show their own  way of personal and professional improvement.

Sometimes nurses and midwives will need to be removed from the register for things that have been so abhorrent to our Code of Conduct that require nothing less. BUT these practitioners are not that common. What is more common is that those with a vast amount of experience, often many decades find themselves in situations that they have little control over and something goes wrong.

At NMCWatch we encourage practitioners to reflect honestly and work hard to show the NMC that they are more than their mistake.

The current Fitness to Practice system allows for anyone to refer to the NMC and all cases will be investigated.

Many of our group have been referred following raising concerns in the workplace and rather than those concerns being investigated - they are investigated.

We need to change the conversation and move to a restorative process 

Here's why I set up NMCWatch: 

I was fortunate ... hundreds of nurses and midwives are less so and every year go through Fitness to Practice investigations - many do not come out of the other side. Prior to my experience I was completely naive to the process, thinking "no smoke without fire"  - how wrong I was. 

I formed NMCWatch as it was apparent to me that there was little support out there for others like myself. We provide online support, buddy support, an annual retreat, legal advice and signposting and advocacy. We are all volunteers, we do it because we know how hard it is and we want to help others not suffer like we did.

Your donations will help support our work with:

- Travel expenses to meet registrants who are struggling
- Fund registrants to attend our annual retreat held in September each year
- Fund a care package hamper for a registrant in need
- Review of reflections and give guidance on how to complete them
- Review of evidence presented by NMC and helping them understand them in plain English
 "Virtual" clinical supervision: telephone discussions to review practice and reflect on learning

An example of a recent registrant we have helped can be seen here:

Even though I am back working as a nurse now,  I am forever changed. I work constantly worrying that I will make a mistake that sends me straight back infront of an NMC panel again. I had a meeting with the NMC recently and they kindly paid my travel expenses. The cheque came through the post today - my heart started racing, teary eyes and panic set in once again so fearful that I could not open it and my husband had to do so, equally worried.

Many nurses and midwives at the end of their FtP investigation come out with "no case to answer" a clean PIN number and able to practice freely. However it is not so simple, many have been unable to gain employment whilst under investigation, have been financially ruined and had their professional and personal confidence ripped apart. They is no recourse from the trauma they have been through, no consequence for the person that started the case that was assessed as having no merit.

This is the reality - you never "get over it" you are always "damaged" by it... there is no compensation or consequence for the impact it has, you just have to get on and do the best you can.


  • Jim Litchfield
    • £10 
    • 3 yrs


Cathryn Watters

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