Alternative ways of ending a case
Ending a case quickly
Not all cases need to progress to a full, lengthy hearing. There are several ways that we can close a case at the end of an investigation with a shorter hearing, or, sometimes, with no hearing at all.
Nurses and midwives who have been investigated can apply to be removed from the register without the need for a full hearing. This is voluntary removal. Once they have been removed from the register, the person cannot practice as a nurse or midwife.
Voluntary removal may apply to someone who admits the allegations against them and who does not intend to continue practising. This is likely to be someone who is no longer fit to practise because of a serious or long-term health condition, or someone who has not committed serious misconduct.
If a nurse or midwife is not subject to a fitness to practise investigation and wants to leave the register, they can apply to lapse their registration.
Applying for voluntary removal
A nurse or midwife may submit an application for voluntary removal at any point during the fitness to practise process but we will not consider any applications until we have finished a full investigation into the allegation. The nurse or midwife will need to complete an application form for voluntary removal.
We will make decisions on applications for voluntary removal on the basis of clear guidance and criteria.
If we become aware of concerns about someone who has previously been granted voluntary removal, we keep a record of the concern. This information will help the Registrar to decide whether the nurse or midwife is capable of safe and effective practice if they choose to apply for readmission to the register.
Consensual panel determination
A nurse or midwife who has been investigated can agree a provisional sanction (restriction on their practice) with us. Consensual panel determination reduces the length of the hearing and the need for witnesses to attend.
This is suitable for nurses or midwives who admit the charges against them and that their fitness to practise is impaired. They will need to provisionally agree to a sanction.
The agreement will then be put before a Fitness to Practise Committee panel, who will decide whether to agree or reject it. The panel may also vary the provisional agreement with the consent of both parties. If rejected, the case will be put before a new panel, which will conduct a full hearing to decide on the best outcome.
Undertakings, warnings and advice
Case examiners can give advice, issue warnings and recommend undertakings in less serious cases without the need to hold a full hearing.
This involves putting in place agreed measures to address areas of practice which cause a current clinical risk to patients. Undertakings include steps the nurse or midwife should take within defined time periods to demonstrate remediation. If undertakings are agreed, they will be published against the nurse or midwife’s entry on our register in all cases, with a brief summary of the regulatory concern (except in cases relating to health).
This involves a public marking (on our register) of serious concerns about a nurse or midwife. Warnings are only appropriate where the nurse or midwife shows insight, remediation, and there is no risk to patients. Warnings will be published for 12 months on the nurse or midwife’s online entry on our register, including a short summary of the regulatory concern.
We can give out private guidance to a nurse or midwife to help them keep their practice safe following a minor breach of the Code. This is only suitable where the concern is not serious enough to call into question the nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise, and will happen only if a nurse or midwife acknowledges the concern. This advice is not made public at any point.
More detailed information about the ways that we can close cases is available in our fitness to practise guidance library.