Interim orders temporarily suspend or restrict a nurse, midwife or nursing associate's practice while their case is being investigated.

Our screening team carries out an initial risk assessment on each concern when they receive it. If they identify particular risks, such as a risk of harm to the public, the case may be referred to an interim order hearing.

Interim order cases may include cases of serious lack of competence or poor clinical practice, serious convictions or imprisonment, and serious illness.

Interim orders are generally made at the beginning of the case process. Investigations will continue while an interim order is in place. However, interim orders can be made at any time throughout the process if needed.

Types of interim orders

The panel can impose the following orders:

Interim conditions of practice orders

An interim conditions of practice order can restrict a nurse, midwife, or nursing associate's practice for up to 18 months.

The conditions placed on their practice must be followed and will differ from case to case.

They could include things like only being able to practice under supervision or avoiding a specific area of practice.

Interim suspension order

An interim suspension order means that the nurse, midwife, or nursing associate will have their registration suspended and can't practise while this is in place.

Interim suspension orders are used when the concerns are so serious that either patient safety is at risk, or there could be serious damage to the trust and confidence in nurses, midwives and nursing associates generally, if they were allowed to practise even with conditions.

Interim suspension orders also last up to 18 months.

Imposing interim orders

Interim orders can be made by either an Investigating Committee panel or the Fitness to Practise Committee.

Find out more about Investigating and Fitness to Practise committees

The panels can only impose an interim order if they find it necessary to protect the public or the nurse, midwife or nursing associate's interests.

Interim orders hearings

We try to arrange interim orders hearings as soon as possible and send the panellists and the parties the case papers in advance.

We always encourage the nurse, midwife or nursing associate concerned to attend the hearing if possible or submit documents in their absence.

During the hearing, a case presenter will set out why the panel should make an order, and the nurse, midwife, nursing associate or their representative will have the opportunity to respond.

Reviewing interim orders

Interim orders should be reviewed by a panel every six months.

At an interim order review hearing, the panel can continue, replace, vary or remove the order.

Interim orders can also reviewed if new evidence relevant to the order becomes available.

Extension of interim orders

An interim order lasts for a maximum of 18 months at any one time.

If the interim order is ending and the case hasn't been concluded, we can apply to the High Court (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or the Court of Session (in Scotland) to extend the interim order.

The Court can extend the interim order for up to 12 months at a time. The Court also has the power to substitute an interim conditions of practice order for an interim suspension order or the other way around if necessary.

Interim orders pending appeal

When a panel imposes a conditions of practice order, the order can't take effect until 28 days after the nurse, midwife or nursing associate has been told about the decision.

If the nurse, midwife or nursing associate appeals the interim order, it won't take effect until the appeal has been considered.

The panel at the hearing has the power to impose an interim order to cover this period until the substantive order takes effect or until an appeal has been considered.