What to expect from the process

The fitness to practise process for those under investigation

The case examiners will consider all of the information and decide whether there is a case to answer. If the case examiners decide there is no case to answer, the matter may be closed, or they may decide to issue advice or give a warning. If they decide there is a case to answer, the case examiners may recommend undertakings that must be agreed with the registrant, or they may refer the case to a Fitness to Practise Committee for a hearing or meeting.

We have produced guidance which sets out our approach on how we formulate charges concerning allegations of fitness to practise.

Representation

We strongly recommend that you take advice from your professional organisation, trade union or lawyer. Alternatively, Citizens Advice or law centres may be able to advise you. If you attend your hearing without representation, please read our leaflet for unrepresented registrants. This explains the hearing process and covers some of the things you should expect to happen.

Hearings

As a nurse or midwife, you are entitled to have your case decided at a hearing. However, cases can sometimes be decided at a meeting if they are straightforward and there is no public interest in dealing with them at a hearing.

While there is no longer a requirement for us to hold a hearing in the registrant’s country of residence, we will continue to do so unless an exemption applies. More information on where your hearing may take place can be found in our guidance.

You are entitled to attend the hearing and be represented. The case against you will be presented by an NMC case presenter. Witnesses can be called by either side.

In some cases it may be appropriate for a panel to hear allegations at the same time when there is more than one allegation against a nurse or midwife, or allegations against more than one nurse or midwife in the same matter. For further information please refer to our policy on hearing allegations together.

Interim orders

At any time until we have completed our investigations, we may decide to refer the case for an interim orders hearing. If so, the reasons will be explained to you and you will be invited to attend or send written representations. An interim order would place temporary limits on your practice.

Voluntary removal

If you admit the fitness to practise allegations against you and do not intend to continue practising, once the case examiners have determined if there is a case to answer, you may apply for voluntary removal from the register. This is likely to be available to those who are no longer fit to practise due to a serious or long-term health condition, or who are near retirement age and have not committed serious misconduct.

Voluntary removal allows you to be removed from the register without the need for a full hearing.

Consensual panel determination

Through consensual panel determination, you may provisionally agree a sanction with us. We will seek the comments of the person who referred the allegation to us, where possible, then put our provisional agreement before a Fitness to Practise Committee panel. The panel will either agree to the proposed sanction, or send the case to a full hearing.

Sanctions

If the allegations made against you are found proven, an order will be made. There are a range of sanctions available to panels.

Remediation

Read our guidance for decision makers on insight, remediation and risk of reoccurrence. This is intended to help our decision makers to consider whether concerns arising from allegations have been remedied (put right) by the nurse or midwife. Nurses and midwives and their representatives may wish to refer to the guidance when preparing a response.

For information about the circumstances in which the NMC will not pursue the allegation against you, please see our guidance on offering no evidence and guidance on cancelling hearings.

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