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08 March 2007

HLSP awarded New Quality Assurance Contracts for Northern Ireland and Scotland

HLSP, the UK and international healthcare consultancy and part of Mott MacDonald, has been awarded further contracts by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the regulatory body for UK nurses and midwives, to undertake quality assurance (QA) of nursing and midwifery education provision in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The NMC's QA work will transfer to HLSP from both the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC) and NHS Education Scotland (NES). NIPEC and NES have carried out the QA function on the NMC's behalf for the previous four years. Following a re-contracting exercise, the NMC's work in Wales will continue to be delivered by Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW).

HLSP's consultants are already demonstrating their ability to work effectively with the NMC and their approach to delivering the contract for QA services in England has been fully endorsed by the NMC's QACommittee. The outcomes of QA activity are more analytic, consistent, and enable the QA Committee to make well-informed, strategic decisions.

Peter Greengross, HLSP's UK director said, "We are delighted to be carrying out this important work on behalf of the NMC. We do want to build on the excellent work of our predecessors and we are looking forward to establishing good working relationships with programme providers in Northern Ireland and Scotland as soon as possible."

Developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from across the UK, the new QA work takes a risk-based approach to monitoring the standards of delivery of NMC approved education programmes. Monitoring activity will be targeted to deal with concerns identified as high risk whilst seeking to reduce the level of involvement with programme providers that are exceeding the standards required by the NMC.

HLSP will commence delivery of QA work in Northern Ireland and Scotland from 1 April 2007. They will work with parent company Mott MacDonald's education experts at Cambridge Education who have an established reputation working with the Government's education department and associated agencies. Institutional Approval and Programme Approval will
continue on the same basis as currently.

From April 2007, HLSP will establish baseline information in Northern Ireland/Scotland building on NIPEC/NES's experience to date to inform the development of risk analysis for the NMC.

The NMC will be publishing further information regarding the development of the new UK-wide QA framework as it becomes available on the NMC website: www.nmc-uk.org and in NMC News - the quarterly publication issued free to over 689,000 nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses on the register. HLSP will also be publishing further information on their dedicated website: www.hlsp.org/uk/nmc.


Notes for Editors

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the UK regulator for two professions, nursing and midwifery. The primary purpose of the NMC is protection of the public. It does this through maintaining a register of all nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses eligible to practise within the UK and by setting standards for their education, training and conduct. Currently the number of registrants exceeds 682,000. The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (The Order), sets out the NMC's role and responsibilities.

The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 provided legislative powers for the NMC to approve and monitor the standards of educational programmes that lead to entry on to the register and the educational institutions delivering these programmes. The NMC establishes and improves standards through a number of key tasks, one of which is quality assuring nursing and midwifery education. Quality assurance is a planned system of procedures, audits and corrective actions necessary to provide confidence that standards of education and training are of the highest achievable quality.

The NMC has worked with a range of stakeholders to developed a new risk based approach to QA. Stakeholders include: Higher Education Institutes; Strategic Health Authorities; Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW); NHS Education Scotland (NES) and; Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC) and Government Departments in the devolved administrations.

HLSP is a UK and international professional services firm with over 20 years experience in the health sector. As part of the Mott MacDonald Group, a global consultancy with specialists in health, education, water, sanitation, infrastructure and the environment, HLSP benefits from unlimited access to considerable financial, quality assurance and technical systems and can link its expertise in health with colleagues working in other sectors, in particular, education.

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