Their role and actions they can take
If a referral has been made about a nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise and we have investigated the case, our case examiners will decide whether there is a ‘case to answer’. Case examiners arrive at their decision on whether there is a case to answer in pairs. One case examiner in the pairing is always a registered nurse or midwife and the other is a lay person (not registered as a nurse or midwife).
If the case examiners find that there is no case to answer, they may decide to take no further action, to close the case with advice, or to issue a warning.
If the case examiners find that there is a case to answer, they may recommend undertakings or refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee (FTPC) for consideration. In arriving at their decision, the Case examiners apply our Case to Answer guidance.
When deciding whether there is a case to answer, Case examiners consider the evidence gathered during the investigation. This can often include submissions or evidence received from the nurse or midwife who has been referred as well as evidence from other parties, for example, their current employer.
Case examiners must assess whether the facts of the regulatory concern(s) (what it is about a nurse or midwife’s practice or conduct that requires regulatory involvement) could be proven and whether there is a real prospect that a committee would find the nurse or midwife's fitness to practise is currently impaired. To enable them to reach a decision, the case examiners may also recommend that the Assistant Registrar, conducts further investigations.
The case examiners can decide that:
- there is no case to answer and close the case with no further action
- there is no case to answer and close the case with advice given to the nurse or midwife to remind them of their responsibilities
- there is no case to answer and issue a warning, which will be published for a period of 12 months
- there is a case to answer and recommend undertakings, which will comprise of restrictive and rehabilitative measures, setting out a clear pathway back to safe and effective practice. These undertakings will be published for as long as they are in place
- there is a case to answer and refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee
Where appropriate, case examiners may ask that a risk assessment of the case is carried out. If they identify particular risks (such as risk of harm to the public), case examiners may request that the case is considered for an interim order application hearing.
Both case examiners must agree as to whether there is a case to answer. If they do not agree, the case will be referred to a panel of the Investigating Committee (IC) for consideration.
Case examiners do not consider cases about whether a nurse or midwife’s entry on our register may be fraudulent or incorrect. These allegations are considered by the Investigating Committee.
Where case examiners decide there is no case to answer or where they decide that there is a case to answer and recommend undertakings, any interested party may request that this decision is reviewed by the Registrar. We have produced guidance which sets out the procedure the Registrar will follow when reviewing no case to answer decisions.