The Fitness to Practise Committee holds meetings and hearings to consider fitness to practise cases.
The committee is a panel made up of three people, including:
- a nurse, midwife or nursing associate
- a member of the public who isn't a registered nurse, midwife or nursing associate
- the Chair of the panel – this person can be a member of the public or a registered nurse, midwife, or nursing associate.
There'll always be someone on the panel who's on the same part of the register as the person being investigated. For example, if the concern is about a midwife, there'll be a midwife on the panel.
When we hold meetings or hearings
We always ask the nurse, midwife or nursing associate if they’d prefer a meeting or a hearing.
If they don't respond when we ask them how they'd prefer us to deal with their case, we'll usually hold a meeting, unless the panel decides that a hearing is needed.
The difference between meetings and hearings
At a meeting or hearing, the panel makes a decision about a nurse, midwife or nursing associate's fitness to practise.
There'll be an independent legal assessor in both meetings and hearings to give legal advice and help make sure meetings or hearings remain fair.
At a meeting, the panel makes its decision based on the documents and evidence that have been submitted and they usually take much less time to resolve.
The nurse, midwife or nursing associate doesn't attend the meeting, and there aren't any witnesses that attend either. However, all parties can engage in the process by sending us any information they have in advance that they want the panel to look at.
A nurse, midwife or nursing associate has the right to request a hearing instead of a meeting if they’d like one.
The main difference between meetings and hearings is that nurses, midwives, nursing associates and witnesses, including the person who made the referral, can attend a hearing and give live evidence.
Anyone that gives evidence to the fitness to practise panel at a hearing can also be asked questions.
Nurses, midwives and nursing associates can attend hearings with or without a representative, or they can send one on their behalf.
A case presenter will attend all hearings to represent the NMC.
Part ofWhat is fitness to practise