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Reference: PRE-5

Last Updated 12/10/2018

What is disclosure? 

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It’s the process we follow during the investigation of a nurse or midwife’s case and means we provide them with the evidence we’ve obtained.

We provide it because:

  • we’re going to rely on it to support our case
  • it could undermine our case or support the nurse or midwife’s case
  • it makes sure that the process is fair
  • it makes sure that the nurse or midwife is given enough information to properly respond to the allegations against them

We may also provide them with evidence that we don’t intend to rely on to support our case. We call this ‘unused material’.

Is there any information that we won’t disclose?

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We won’t disclose any material that’s subject to legal privilege. This means it contains confidential legal advice, or we could need to keep it confidential for other reasons.

When a nurse or midwife asks us to obtain evidence

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There are times when a nurse or midwife may ask us to obtain evidence on their behalf.

This is because we, as a regulatory body, have the power to request the disclosure of documents from organisations or people that the nurse or midwife may not be able to get themselves.

Our legal team will consider whether the request meets our criteria for disclosure.

Although we don’t have a duty to gather evidence asked for by a nurse or midwife, the nurse or midwife does have a right to a fair hearing and so we’ll consider the following three criteria:

1. Is it relevant or essential?

For example:

A request for patient notes over a month period may not be relevant or essential if the allegation only concerns a medication error that occurred on one day. The nurse or midwife may need to explain why the requested material is essential for us to get.

2. What steps has the nurse or midwife taken to obtain the material themselves?

They should:

  • have made attempts to get the information themselves before requesting us to get it for them.
  • let us have the contact details of who to contact for us to make the request.

3.  Are we better placed to obtain this material from the organisation or person that holds it?

It may be that because we have a statutory power to request information for the purposes of our investigation, we may be better placed to request the material than an individual nurse or midwife.

The guidance in our library, needs to be read alongside our NMC Guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period. We have new rules that are in force during the period of  the coronavirus emergency that are relevant to how it applies.

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