When is a historic caseload not a backlog?

Hospital ward

For years the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been failing to cope with the number of complaints it has to handle into whether particular nurses or midwives are fit to practise, leading to long delays.

Yesterday it was the subject of a scathing report from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), which condemned the NMC for - amongst other failings - its longstanding record of confusion of purpose, lack of clear strategic direction, inconsistent governance, unbalanced working relationships, deficient leadership, weak business planning, internal cultural problems, poor financial stewardship, unreliable management information, risky IT systems, and insufficiently transparent decision-making.

The CHRE report refers seven times to what it describes as the backlog of cases faced by the NMC (if you're inclined to check for yourself, one of these is spelt as "back log").

The NMC accepts that there have been "substantial failings" in its work, and its interim chief executive Jackie Smith apologised yesterday. She says they have started to tackle the organisation's many defects.

But what the NMC will not apparently accept is that its problems amount to having a "backlog" of complaints to adjudicate on.

When one of my colleagues make a freedom of information request three months ago for documents using the term "backlog", she was told that "the information requested is not held" - because "the NMC does not have a backlog of cases."

NMC email

Today an NMC spokesperson admitted: "We recognise that not all of our cases are being progressed as quickly as we would want or expect."

But she justified the FOI reply: "We absolutely stand by the response that was given in the FOI request. There are a number of cases which are actively being progressed. Backlog is not a word we choose to use. There is no backlog - we have a caseload."

Instead what the NMC does have apparently is a large number of what it prefers to call "historic" cases.

Martin Rosenbaum, Freedom of information specialist Article written by Martin Rosenbaum Martin Rosenbaum Freedom of information specialist

Revealed: the energy secrets of MI6

A report showing the energy efficiency of MI6 headquarters has been removed from the internet.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Features

  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world


  • Irvine WelshScots missed

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum


  • Balloons flying upUp, up and away

    Why the ever rising pound is not all good news


  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Jean-Luc CourcoultGiant strides

    The enigmatic Frenchman behind Liverpool's 25ft grandmother


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.