Information for witnesses during Covid-19
Information about fitness to practise hearings for witnesses during Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented level of demand on the people we regulate. We must make sure that they, and the healthcare professionals they work with, can work without distraction during these challenging times.
If you're a witness for a substantive order review hearing, we'll still ask you to attend virtually. All parties will participate by telephone or video-link, and the case officer will contact you to explain the next steps and how to attend the hearing by telephone or video-link. Information about virtual hearings and how to prepare for one, is available in our guides below.
We've put together two guides to answer your questions and guide you through our new virtual fitness to practise events:
Attending a hearing
Once you have joined the hearing using the link we provide, you will be able to see and hear all of the other participants in the hearing. They will also be able to see and hear you once you have activated your microphone and webcam. If you cannot hear anyone, ensure you have enabled audio on your device by selecting ‘join computer audio’.
You will be asked by the Chair of the Committee to introduce yourself, and the Chair will explain the format and nature of the hearing to you.
Taking part in a hearing can be an unusual and stressful event, and the virtual nature of hearings at present can make them seem unnatural. Your participation in the hearing is very important, however, and as such the Chair and our hearings staff will do their best to help you participate fully.
It would be helpful if you could ensure that you are in a room where you will not be disturbed, and where you have access to the documents relevant to the hearing. It would also be helpful if you can view those documents on a different device to the one you are using to take part in the hearing.
Finally, we recommend a minimum constant internet speed of 1 Mbps - you can check your broadband speed on the Which website. Please email the panel secretary if you are unable to hear or see at any time during the hearing.
We can’t run all hearings virtually, so we're resuming some physical hearings from September 2020 to progress some cases that have been postponed due to Covid-19.
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.
We're following government guidelines to make sure all attendees and staff at our hearing centres are welcomed into a Covid-secure environment.
We've put together a guide to answer your questions on attending physical hearings: Our hearings venues: A guide to socially-distanced, Covid-secure physical hearings
If you have any questions about attending a hearing, please contact your listings officer.