What is self-referral?

A self-referral is when you inform us of a concern you have about yourself that you think might negatively impact your fitness to practise.

Things that could affect your fitness to practise could include:

  • Convictions and charges
  • Findings by another regulatory or licensing organisation
  • Health conditions that may prevent you from carrying out your professional role

When should you consider making a self-referral

As a nurse, midwife or nursing associate, there are certain circumstances where you’re required to refer yourself to the NMC. These include:

  • If you've received a caution or charge against you.
  • If you've received a conditional discharge about, or have been found guilty of a criminal office that isn't a protected caution or conviction.
  • If you've been disciplined by another regulatory or licensing organisation. This includes organisations that don't work in health and care.

Unprotected cautions and charges are both covered in the NMC code. We've outlined these areas below.

23.2 / tell both us and any employers as soon as you can about any caution or charge against you, or if you have received a conditional discharge in relation to, or have been found guilty of, a criminal offence (other than a protected caution or conviction).

23.4 / tell us and your employers at the first reasonable opportunity if you are or have been disciplined by any regulatory or licensing organisation, including those who operate outside of the professional health and care environment.

Your employer can't force you to make a self-referral, it's ultimately your decision.

But not informing us of something that affects your fitness to practise, like a caution, may mean you're in breach of the code.

When you don't need to make a self-referral

Protected cautions and convictions

Protected convictions or cautions are convictions or cautions which don’t show up on a criminal record check from either the Disclosure and Barring Service, Disclosure Scotland, or Access NI because they are filtered out during the check process.

You don't need to let us know about protected cautions and convictions. However, these are defined differently across the different nations of the UK.

You can find out more about the different criteria below:

Driving offences

You don't usually need to make a self-referral for motoring offences, such as:

  • parking and other penalty charge notices contraventions
  • fixed penalty (and conditional offer fixed penalty) motoring offences
  • penalty fares imposed under a public transport penalty fare scheme.

We’ll assess other motoring offences on a case-by-case basis.

We'll only take regulatory action if this is closely linked to your professional practice or suggests there could be a concern about your health which affects your fitness to practise.

Drink driving offences

Drink-driving offences will only call into question a nurse, midwife or nursing associate's fitness to practise if:

  • the offence occurred either in the course of your professional duties, driving to or from those duties, or during on-call or standby arrangements
  • there are aggravating circumstances connected with the offence, or
  • it's a repeat offence.