Recent changes to our fitness to practise legislation

Changes will help us become more efficient and proportionate

Changes to our legislation, which came into effect on 28 July 2017, will enable us to become a more efficient and proportionate regulator.

The changes included:

1. Warnings, undertakings and advice

Previously, case examiners only had the power to decide if there was a case to answer, and where they did, the case had to progress to a hearing. These changes give case examiners broader powers to give advice, issue warnings and recommend undertakings. This means we are now able to conclude less serious cases without the need to progress to a full hearing.

2. Reviewing case examiner decisions

Our power to review case examiner decisions has been expanded. We are able to review decisions to issue warnings, give advice, or that undertakings should no longer apply.

3. A single Fitness to Practise Committee

We used to have two committees – the Conduct and Competence Committee and the Health Committee. However, having two committees could cause delays and additional hearing days. We now have a single Fitness to Practise Committee.

4. Substantive order reviews

Practice committee panels were previously required to review every conditions of practice or suspension order they impose. The changes allow practice committee panels to state whether or not there is a need to review an order. This helps in cases where the nurse or midwife’s practice does not present a current risk of harm to the public, but a suspension order is necessary to uphold standards of professional conduct or public confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions.

We consulted on these changes to our legislation in late 2016, and published a consultation report on 29 March 2017.