Hearing fitness to practise allegations together

Reference: HEA-4

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Overview

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There are some circumstances where it is appropriate for us to have more than one allegation dealt with together at the same hearing. This could be where a single nurse or midwife has more than one case referred to us, or where two or more nurses or midwives are facing allegations arising from the same or a connected incident. This can only be done after the case examiners have determined that there is a case to answer and have referred the case to the Fitness to Practise Committee.

Allegations against more than one nurse or midwife

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A panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee (‘panel’) may consider an allegation against two or more nurses or midwives at the same hearing where the allegations arise out of the same circumstances or where it considers a joint hearing is necessary. Before making a decision the panel must consider the advice of the legal assessor and not hear allegations together if a joint hearing would adversely affect the fairness of the proceedings.1

More than one allegation against a nurse or midwife

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A panel may also consider more than one category of allegation of impaired fitness to practise against a nurse or midwife.2 This gives the panel a full understanding of the fitness to practise concerns surrounding the nurse or midwife so that they can make a decision that will protect the public. If we receive more than one referral for a nurse or midwife at the same time, and the referrals relate to different allegations of impaired fitness to practise, we will investigate the allegations and manage the matter as one case. If we do not receive the referrals at the same time, we may have opened two or more cases against the nurse or midwife. In this instance we will we will consider whether it is better to deal with the cases together. This may depend on where in the process each case is.

If allegations relate to a caution or conviction, this must be heard after any allegation of misconduct has been determined,3 unless the matter requires the panel to hear evidence about the conviction/caution to understand the misconduct. For instance, a misconduct allegation that the nurse or midwife failed to disclose a conviction to their employer. The panel may also hear evidence about a conviction where it is relevant and fair to include it as evidence of fact or bad character.

1 Rule 29(1) of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2004 ('the Rules')
2 Rule 29(2) of the Rules
3 Rule 29(2) of the Rules