Following changes in December 2021 to Covid-19 restrictions, we can confirm all of our scheduled FTP hearings will continue to run as normal. We’ll continue to hold face to face Fitness to Practice hearings where there’s no other option.
Types of hearings we're undertaking
Since September 2020, we have resumed holding some physical hearings to progress some cases that have been postponed due to Covid-19.
Going forward, as a hybrid organisation, our hearings will be a mixture of physical and virtual events. Over time we will increase the number and types of hearings we can hold virtually, as well as the number of physical hearings we can hold.
Deciding how we will hold a hearing
We will treat each hearing on a case-by-case basis when deciding how to hold the hearing.
Hearings may be held virtually, physically or in some cases through a mixture of both physical and virtual attendance. Our updated guidance for the Covid-19 emergency period sets out the (non-exhaustive) list of factors we will consider, including:
- the view of participants in the hearing,
- whether everyone can take part in a virtual hearing,
- the complexity of the hearing, including factors such as its length and the number of registrants, witnesses, and charges involved, and
- whether a particular format might prevent the hearing from running fairly and smoothly.
Find out more about our approach to hearings in our NMC guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period.
Our physical hearings are taking place in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
Our activity levels have been lower than usual but, over time, we hope to be able to increase the number of hearings heard physically.
Ensuring safety at physical hearings
We're following government guidelines to make sure all attendees and staff at our hearing centres are welcomed into a Covid-secure environment.
Some measures we’re taking include:
- giving information in advance to all attendees on what to expect and what is expected of them
- providing hand sanitisers throughout our hearings centres
- screened partitions in our receptions and hearing rooms
- fresh air flow through the air conditioning system
- enhanced cleaning arrangements.
We’ve carried out risk assessments to consider the risks of reopening our hearings centres and resuming physical hearings. They cover areas including cleanliness, social distancing, equipment, travel and protocols if someone is unwell. You can view these risk assessments below.
Risk assessment on workplace safety for our staff
This assessment outlines the safety arrangements we will use to keep people safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus as some of our colleagues return to work in our buildings.
Risk assessments for individual buildings
These assessments outline the safety arrangements we will use to keep our colleagues and visitors safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus within our individual premises.
- Risk assessment for 2 Stratford Place, London
- Risk assessment for 10 George Street, Edinburgh
- Risk assessment for One Westfield Avenue, London (not used for hearings)
If we’re holding a hearing virtually, we’ll send everyone involved the information on how to attend the hearing remotely.
Those who can't attend a virtual hearing because of the Covid-19 pandemic or those who are worried about how a virtual hearing will work, please email the person managing the case as soon as possible.
Attending your virtual hearing
If the person managing your case thinks that a test call would be beneficial, a member of our hearings team will hold a test call so that everyone is familiar with the technology.
Shortly before the hearing, a member of the hearings team will send the meeting link to those involved so they can join the hearing when the time comes. Our panel and the other parties attending will be flexible and patient so that those can participate can do so effectively.
As with other hearings, virtual hearings may need to consider confidential or sensitive issues, for example, where matters relate to someone's health. When this happens, it is common for the panel hearing the case to agree that such private matters should be heard in private, rather in public session. This applies whether a hearing is virtual or physical.
We've put together two guides to answer any questions and guide people through our new virtual fitness to practise events:
- A guide for nurses, midwives, nursing associates and their representatives
- A guide to Egress Switch and GoToMeeting
If you're worried or need any adjustments, please let us know as soon as possible. We'll always try to accommodate reasonable adjustments where possible.
Public access to hearings
Members of the public are now able to observe certain hearings.
Find out more about our current restrictions by viewing the NMC guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period.
Find out more about attending a hearing as a member of the public.