Our statutory purpose and the public interest in fitness to practise

Reference: GUI-1

Last Updated 15/12/2017

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Our legal framework1 makes it clear that our overarching objective is the protection of the public. This objective applies to everything we do. All decision makers, at every stage of our fitness to practise process, must consider whether their decision helps us to protect the public.

Our legal framework also sets out how we must pursue our objective of protecting the public. It makes clear that we must:

  • protect, promote and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of the public
  • promote and maintain confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions
  • promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for nurses and midwives.

Promoting and maintaining public confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions is a vital part of public protection because it encourages people to use the services of nurses and midwives.

Promoting and maintaining professional standards and conduct for nurses and midwives protects the public because it identifies and makes clear the standards of safe care that the public expect of nurses and midwives.

When we say a particular fitness to practise outcome or decision may be required ‘in the public interest’, this means we should consider whether the facts of the case show that:

  • the public might be deterred from using the services of nurses or midwives in general
  • we need to publicly declare to all nurses or midwives the importance of the professional standards involved.

1 See article 3(4) and (4A) Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001