The rise of managerialism within healthcare systems has been noted globally. This paper uses the findings of a scoping study to investigate the management of poor performance among nurses and midwives in the United Kingdom within this context. The management of poor performance among clinicians in the NHS has been seen as a significant policy problem. There has been a profound shift in the distribution of power between professional and managerial groups in many health systems globally. We examined literature published between 2000 and 10 to explore aspects of poor performance and its management. We used Web of Science, CINAHL, MEDLINE, British Nursing Index, HMIC, Cochrane Library and PubMed. Empirical data are limited but indicate that nurses and midwives are the clinical groups most likely to be suspended and that poor performance is often represented as an individual deficit. A focus on the individual as a source of trouble can serve as a distraction from more complex systematic problems.