Our hearings are now being held both physically and virtually, and in some cases a mixture of both.
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.
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.
We’ll let you know where a hearing is taking place and give you as much notice as we possibly can.
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
- fresh air flow through the air conditioning system
- enhanced cleaning arrangements.
If we’re holding your hearing virtually, we’ll send you information on how you can attend your hearing remotely.
Attending your virtual hearing
Usually on the day before your hearing, a member of our hearings team will hold a test call with you so that you are familiar with the technology.
Shortly before the hearing, a member of the hearings team will send the meeting link to you so you can join the hearing when the time comes.
Our panel and the other parties attending will be flexible and patient so that you can participate 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 your questions and guide you 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.
If you can’t attend a hearing
If you can't attend a hearing, please email the person managing your case as soon as possible.
The panel can consider requests to postpone hearings if you let us know in advance by email. But we may ask the panel to proceed in your absence.
Public access to hearings
Members of the public and the press can view a physical hearing in person at one of our hearing centres or external venue.
Where hearings are conducted virtually it will not be possible for members of the public to observe those hearings in the usual way. We'll usually make arrangements for audio access for those who wish to listen in to a virtual hearing.
We may have to limit the number of observers attending our virtual hearings so that we can make sure the hearing runs smoothly.
You can find out more about our current restrictions by viewing the NMC guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period.