When we receive a concern about a nurse, midwife or nursing associate we ask those that raised the concern to let us know if anyone else saw what happened, saw some part of the event in question or has background information that could be useful to us.
When we begin looking into these concerns, we’ll speak to these witnesses to build up a bigger picture of what happened.
Who can be a witness?
When someone raises a concern with us, it’s often related to things that have happened in the workplace. Because of this, our witnesses are often colleagues of the person being investigated, including fellow nurses, midwives, nursing associates or care assistants.
Some of our witnesses can also be members of the public or patients. If a witness is a patient, we’ll often speak to the professionals involved in their care before we decide to contact them. This is so we don’t affect their health or wellbeing in any way.
What does a witness do?
Witnesses provide a written or verbal account of the matter being investigated. In some cases, you might be needed to give evidence at a fitness to practise hearing, which can take place virtually, in person at one of our hearing centres or a mixture of both.
You may not have seen the incident but might be able to provide background information or documents that relate to the case. What you saw, heard or know is important, but we need understand the bigger picture and understand as much as possible about the incident. This means that the smallest details might help us in our investigations. Your account can help make sure our investigations are thorough and fair.
The person investigating the case will have looked at all the evidence and will want to speak to you to help them make a decision about how to proceed with the case.
If you’re a nurse, midwife, nursing associate or anther healthcare professional
If you’re a nurse, midwife or nursing associate, you’re required to cooperate with our investigations as part of the Code. If you’re a different medical or healthcare professional, your own professional standards might carry a similar requirement to engage in fitness to practise investigations.
In rare and exceptional circumstances, a witness can be served with formal summons. Summons are a legal requirement for someone to appear at a hearing. They allow us to take legal action if necessary but this is something we’d only consider doing if all other avenues had been explored and exhausted.
Getting in touch with us about being a witness
We know being a witness can be stressful. If you’re worried about being a witness we’d encourage you to speak with a member of our Witness Liaison team for more information or support.
Our witness liaison officers are NMC employees who are responsible for providing information and support to you throughout your time as a witness.