The first stage in the fitness to practise process is called screening. This is where we look at the concern someone’s raised with us in more detail and decide on the next steps.

Why do we screen cases?

We screen cases to make sure they we’re the right organisation and it’s serious enough that regulatory action needs to be taken.

It’s important to note that more often than not, employers can deal with most cases without the need for regulatory action.

Our approach to screening

As a regulator, our role isn't to punish people for things that have happened, but to make sure that nurses, midwives and nursing associates meet the standards they need to practise safely.

When we begin looking at a concern, we'll assume that the nurse, midwife or nursing associate are usually safe and competent professionals, unless there’s evidence that they caused harm or acted recklessly on purpose.

We'll always take account of the context of a situation when we decide if there's a risk to public safety that requires us to take regulatory action.

Read more about how we take account of context

The three stages of screening

There are three stages of our screening decision.

  • 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 require 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?

We will use the three stages flexibly to help us reach the right decision quickly and fairly.

In most cases, we'll go through the three stages in the order set out above. But sometimes, we might change the order or miss out on a stage entirely if we don't need to consider it to make the right decision.

For example, if we receive a concern that isn’t serious enough for us to get involved with, like where someone has received a fixed penalty for a parking offence, we won't spend time and resources making sure there's clear evidence.

If you've raised or are thinking about raising a concern with us, find out more about what the screening process means for you.