Interim orders

What interim orders are and how they are applied

Interim orders temporarily suspend or restrict the nurse or midwife’s practice while their case is being investigated.

Our screening team carries out an initial risk assessment on each referral when they receive it. If they identify particular risks (such as risk of harm to the public), the case may be referred to an interim order hearing.

Interim order cases may include cases of lack of competence, poor clinical practice, serious convictions or imprisonment, and serious mental illness. Panels of any of the committees can decide to hold an interim orders hearing.

Interim orders are generally made at the beginning of the case process. However, they can be made at any time if new information becomes available.

Interim orders hearings

We arrange interim orders hearings as soon as possible, and send the panellists and all the parties the case papers in advance. We encourage the nurse or midwife concerned to attend proceedings or submit documents in their absence.

During the hearing, a case presenter will state the reasons that the panel should make an order, and the nurse or midwife or their representative can respond.

Imposing orders

The panel can impose the following orders.

  • interim suspension order: the panel suspends the nurse or midwife's registration for up to 18 months.
  • interim conditions of practice order: the panel imposes conditions on the nurse or midwife for up to 18 months.

The panel can only impose an interim order if it finds it is necessary to protect the public, is otherwise in the public interest or in the registrant's interest.

When considering whether to make a conditions of practice order panels will consult our conditions of practice library.

The investigation continues while the interim order is in effect.

Review of interim orders

The panel must review interim orders every six months or if new evidence relevant to the order has become available.

The statutory review of interim orders can take place at a meeting in some cases.

At an interim order review hearing the panel can continue, replace, vary the order or revoke it.

Extension of interim orders

A panel can impose an interim order for a maximum of 18 months. If the period of the interim order is coming to an end and the case is not yet concluded, the NMC can apply to the High Court (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or the Court of Session (in Scotland) for an extension of the interim order. The Court can extend the interim order for up to 12 months at a time. The Court also has the power to substitute an interim conditions of practice order for an interim suspension order and vice versa

Interim orders pending appeal

When a panel imposes a conditions of practice order, suspension order or striking-off order at a substantive hearing the order cannot take effect until 28 days after the nurse or midwife has been told about the decision.

If the nurse or midwife lodges an appeal the order does not take effect until the appeal has been considered. Therefore the panel at the substantive hearing has the power to impose an interim order to cover the period until the substantive order takes effect or until an appeal has been dealt with.