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If you have a concern or complaint about someone on our register and report it to us, we call that a referral.

The referral then comes through to our screening team, who are expert at information gathering and fact checking.

A member of our screening team will assess your referral to see whether the concern or complaint you’ve raised needs to be taken to a further stage of investigation or intervention.

These pages set out the steps we'll take.

Accessible information

We've also produced some accessible information on fitness to practise for people who find reading hard.

These are known as 'easy read' guides.

What will the screening team check?

  • That the person you’re complaining about is on our register
  • That the nature of the referral is something that we can investigate
  • Whether we’ll be able to get credible evidence to support any allegations
  • If there’s any evidence that the nurse or midwife has taken steps to address and remedy the concerns.

It’s important to bear in mind that only a small number of referrals we receive go to a hearing, and that’s because we recognise that nurses, midwives or nursing associates sometimes make isolated mistakes, but this doesn't necessarily mean that their current fitness to practise is impaired, if they and their employer have addressed the mistake and taken steps to prevent it from happening again. 

In most cases, we’ll contact you to discuss your concerns with you, as we want to be sure we fully understand what you want us to consider.

We’ll also take the time to clearly explain the screening process to you. If you’ve not previously raised your concern locally with the employer of the nurse, midwife or nursing associate, we’ll discuss this with you. If we think that the employer should properly consider the issues you’ve raised with us, we’ll discuss this with you and get your views on us asking the employer to do this.

When do we take action?

We only take action if we believe:

  • the nurse, midwife or nursing associate currently poses a risk to the public, or 
  • what they have done is so serious that it would damage the public’s confidence in the nursing or midwifery professions if we did not take action.

If we consider that the complaint you made about the nurse, midwife or nursing associate raises significantly serious concerns, we can request a temporary restriction to prevent them from working.

Or we may ask for conditions to be imposed on the nurse, midwife or nursing associate temporarily, such as not being allowed to administer medication without supervision.

When we can't help

If the screening team decides it can’t help with your referral or that it doesn’t need to be investigated further, because it doesn't meet the criteria listed above, they'll write to let you know why this is.

We understand that this can be difficult news to hear, and you may have lots of questions so please do contact us to talk about it further.  However, should you have serious concerns about our decision or if you have any additional, relevant information that we didn't have when we made the decision please contact your case officer. 

If the screening team decides that your referral does need further investigation, they’ll let you know and pass it onto our investigations team.


When we investigate