The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has found that the majority of complaints against nurses carrying out PIP assessments are not being properly investigated, Disability News Service has reported.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the body responsible for looking into complaints against nurses.
The PSA decided to look into the issue of PIP assessment complaints against nurses after being informed that, out of 83 complaints in 2017-18, just two had led to a full investigation by the NMC.
The PSA carried out a review of a sample of 28 of the investigations and discovered that almost every one had not been properly conducted.
A shocking 26 cases were closed at the very earliest screening stage, one was closed by case examiners with no further action and only one led to a nurse being issued with a warning.
Amongst the problems found by the NMC were:
- a refusal to consider all the issues raised by complainants;
- relying on the findings made by Atos and Capita to justify closing cases;
- failure to consider crucial documentary evidence;
- ignoring evidence from complainants;
- failure to ask complainants for further evidence.
The PSA came to the conclusion that the handling of 24 out of 28 cases “might undermine confidence” in the NMC.
They also found that the NMC’s failure to properly do its job in two of the cases “might not be sufficient to protect the public” and it was unable to reach a conclusion on public protection in no fewer than nine of the other cases.
Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC’s chief executive, said in a statement:
“I’m sorry that our approach to a small number of PIP related cases fell short of what is expected.
“Our failure to fully address the concerns of some people making complaints and the lack of clarity in our decision making was not good enough.
“Since 2018 we have taken action. This includes additional training for those making and communicating case decisions, as well as a new quality assurance approach to the way we initially review cases.”