Case to answer

Reference: CAS-1

Last Updated 28/07/2017


Our final adjudications process is reserved for the most serious cases,  those that:

  • involve current risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of members of the public
  • are about incidents so serious that they could affect public confidence in nurses or midwives generally
  • suggest that the nurse or midwife has fallen so far below proper professional standards and conduct that they may need to be removed, on a temporary or permanent basis, from our register

In order to make sure that only those most serious cases go through to the final adjudications process, at the end of an investigation, case examiners apply a ‘case to answer’ test: is there a realistic prospect that a panel would find the nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise to be currently impaired?

It is crucial that case examiners apply this test correctly. There are obvious implications for the protection of the public if we close fitness to practise cases before we know it is safe to do so. At the same time, it is not in the public interest for us to pursue weak or trivial cases all the way to a final hearing. We should avoid the potential distress and reputational damage caused to all parties through prolonged involvement in matters where it is clear that no risk remains.