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Regulator chief steps down due to ill health

Published on: 22 May 2024

Andrea Sutcliffe is stepping down from her role as chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council due to ill health, the watchdog has announced.

Ms Sutcliffe suffered a fall and broken shoulder last month, with a subsequent scan revealing a tumour, which will require neurosurgery within the next few weeks.

While the tumour is almost certainly benign and a full recovery is expected, a lengthy period of recovery will be required post-operation, the nursing regulator said in a statement.

Ms Sutcliffe was the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of adult social care for nearly five years, from October 2013 to December 2018, before taking up her role at the NMC in January 2019.

She said: “It’s been a great privilege to lead the NMC for the last five years. I’ve been constantly inspired by the amazing work that the nurses, midwives, and nursing associates on our register do for people and communities.

“Stepping down has been a difficult decision for me but it may be some time before I’m well enough to fully meet the demands of this job.

“I’m particularly disappointed that I won’t be here to lead the organisational response to the independent reviews which we have commissioned of our culture and regulatory processes.

“Whatever the findings and recommendations may be, I’m confident that the NMC and its people will deliver positive change.”

The NMC said Ms Sutcliffe will step down from her role at the point of surgery, which will likely be around June.

An interim chief executive and registrar will be appointed while the watchdog seeks a substantive successor.

Ms Sutcliffe has over 30 years’ experience in health and social care in various senior roles and was chief executive of the Appointments Commission from 2008 to 2012.

NMC Council chair Sir David Warren said: “Under her tenure, the NMC has delivered new standards for our professions, brought the public voice into key decisions, and played a crucial role in the national response to the [coronavirus] pandemic.”

“All of us on the council will miss Andrea’s absolute dedication to the NMC and determination to work for safe, kind and effective care.

“We are very sorry that she has had to stand down from her role at this time and wish her well for her full recovery.”