Nursing and Midwifery Council boss steps down days before review

The boss of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has stepped down days before a review into the regulator's handling of the Morecambe Bay scandal is due to be published.

Jackie Smith has announced her intention to stand down from her role as chief executive and registrar of the NMC.

A review into the NMC's handling of Morecambe Bay midwife cases is due to be published later this week.

Last year Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt tasked the Professional Standards Authority with carrying out the "lessons learned" review.

Ms Smith has been in her role for six years. She intends to leave her post at the end of July.

"It's been an honour to lead the NMC over the past six years and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved. Now is the right time for someone else to take the organisation forward," she said in a statement.

"I want to pay tribute to the staff at the NMC who have worked so hard and achieved so much during my time here.

"I'd also like to thank the nurses and midwives on our register - it's been a privilege to work with them and witness the fantastic care they deliver day in day out."

A 2015 inquiry found a "lethal mix" of failures at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother between 2004 and 2013.

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died after midwives missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection which led to his death nine days after he was born at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria, has been heavily critical of the regulator.

He wrote on Twitter that it was "disgraceful that the resignation isn't with immediate effect".

Adding: "Jackie has overseen a dire culture at the NMC that has caused considerable distress."

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