When we receive your concern about someone on our register, it goes to our screening team, who assess whether it should progress through our fitness to practise process.

What do our screening team check?

Our screening team check several different things, including:

  • Step one: Do we have a written concern about a nurse, midwife or nursing associate on our register?
  • Step two: Is there evidence of a serious concern that could need us to take regulatory action to protect the public?
  • Step three: Is there clear evidence to show that the nurse, midwife or nursing associate is currently fit to practise?

Meet Lydia, a member of our screening team

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How we determine seriousness

Seriousness is an important concept that helps us to decide if we should take action.

To determine the seriousness of a concern, we look at the risks that could arise if the nurse, midwife or nursing associate didn't address or put this concern right. These risks could include risks to patients, service users, and in some cases, the public's confidence in all nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

By focusing on these risks, we can see what the nurse, midwife or nursing associate could need to do to address the issues raised or what action we might need to take if they don't address them.

We only take action if we believe the nurse, midwife or nursing associate currently poses a risk to the public or what they've done is so serious it would damage the public's trust and confidence in the nursing or midwifery professions.

What happens if we don’t take your concern forward

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

We know that this can be difficult news to hear, and you might have lots of questions, so please contact us if you need to talk about it further.

However, should you have serious concerns about our decision or have any additional, relevant information that we didn't have when we made the decision, please get in touch with your case officer.

Advocates

An advocate is a person who speaks up for you and puts your case forward on your behalf and makes sure health and social care services follow correct procedures.

They're not a family member, friend and they're not part of social services or the NHS.

An advocate will support you so you can be involved as much as possible in decisions about your care. For example, an advocate might help you get information or go with you to meetings or interviews to support you. They can also help you if you're making a complaint about the care you or someone else received.

England
Healthwatch Get in touch with your local Healthwatch to get access to the Independent Complaints Advocacy. A national network of independent local organisations which champions the views of people who use health and social care services in England. It signposts to Independent Complaints Advocacy and other local help and support organisations.
AvMA Provides free specialist medico-legal advice and support with making complaints where there are concerns about patient safety, as well as support with inquests and other legal processes.
Citizens advice Provides confidential and independent advice to the public on how to resolve a range of issues.
The Patients Association Provides a helpline to answer queries about healthcare services, both NHS and private, and advocates for greater access to information, high quality care and involvement in decision making.
NHS Choices A comprehensive list of advocates
Rethink Mental Illness Search for an advocate specialising in supporting people with mental health needs and can help find one near you.
Scotland
The Patient Advice and Support Service Scotland An independent service in Scotland which provides free, accessible and confidential information, advice and support to patients, their carers and families in their dealings with the NHS.
AvMA Provides free specialist medico-legal advice and support with making complaints where there are concerns about patient safety, as well as support with inquests and other legal processes.
Citizens advice Provides confidential and independent advice to the public on how to resolve a range of issues.
The Patients Association Provides a helpline to answer queries about healthcare services, both NHS and private, and advocates for greater access to information, high quality care and involvement in decision making.
The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance can help you find an advocate in Scotland
Northern Ireland
The Patient and Client Council Northern Ireland The Patient and Client Council will help you to complain about any part of health and social care.
AvMA Provides free specialist medico-legal advice and support with making complaints where there are concerns about patient safety, as well as support with inquests and other legal processes.
Citizens advice Provides confidential and independent advice to the public on how to resolve a range of issues.
The Patients Association Provides a helpline to answer queries about healthcare services, both NHS and private, and advocates for greater access to information, high quality care and involvement in decision making.
NHS Choices A comprehensive list of advocates
Wales
Community Health Council Wales The Community health councils in Wales will:
  • Provide help and advice if you have problems with or complaints about NHS service
  • Ensure that your views and needs influence the policies and plans put in place by health providers in your area
  • Monitor the quality of NHS services from your point of view
  • Give you information about access to the NHS
AvMA Provides free specialist medico-legal advice and support with making complaints where there are concerns about patient safety, as well as support with inquests and other legal processes.
Citizens advice Provides confidential and independent advice to the public on how to resolve a range of issues.
The Patients Association Provides a helpline to answer queries about healthcare services, both NHS and private, and advocates for greater access to information, high quality care and involvement in decision making.
NHS Choices A comprehensive list of advocates

If the screening team decides that your referral does need to be investigated, they'll let you know and pass it on to our investigations team.