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, midwives and nursing associates 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, midwife or nursing associate.
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, midwife or nursing associate 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, midwife or nursing associate 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, midwife or nursing associate 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, midwife or nursing associate is capable of safe and effective practice if they choose to apply for readmission to the register.
Consensual panel determination
A nurse, midwife or nursing associate 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, midwives or nursing associates 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, midwife or nursing associate should take within defined time periods to demonstrate remediation. If undertakings are agreed, they will be published against the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’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, midwife or nursing associate. Warnings are only appropriate where the nurse, midwife or nursing associate shows insight, remediation, and there is no risk to patients. Warnings will be published for 12 months on the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s online entry on our register, including a short summary of the regulatory concern.
We can give out private guidance to a nurse, midwife or nursing associate 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, midwife or nursing associate’s fitness to practise, and will happen only if a nurse, midwife or nursing associate 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.