When will we offer no evidence?

Reference: HEA-10a

Last Updated 22/01/2018

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Overview

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There are specific circumstances where we may seek to offer no evidence against a nurse or a midwife.

  • When a particular part of the charge adds nothing to the overall seriousness of the case.
  • When there is no longer a realistic prospect of some or all of the factual allegation being proved.
  • When there is no longer a realistic prospect of a panel finding that the nurse’s or midwife’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

We can only offer no evidence before a full panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee (‘panel’)

We will not seek to offer no evidence where this would not fulfil our overarching objective.

The overall seriousness of the case

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If we are satisfied that one or more of the alleged facts of the charge adds nothing to the seriousness of the case we may decide to offer no evidence on those parts of the charge. To do this, we will be satisfied that the remaining parts of the charge adequately reflect the evidence on which the allegation is based, the extent of the allegation and the harm or risk of harm covered by the nurse or midwife’s actions.

On a rare occasion, there may be parts of the charge on which we propose to offer no evidence where those parts alone could prejudice the panel’s view of the rest of the case. In this instance, we will seek to offer no evidence on those parts of the charge before a different panel in advance of the scheduled hearing.

If we propose to offer no evidence on a particular part of the charge in a case being dealt with by consensual panel determination, the provisional agreement must explain this and the reasons for it.

Offering no evidence on facts

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It is not in the public interest for us to pursue factual charges if there is insufficient evidence to prove them. It will only be appropriate to offer no evidence on evidential grounds when:

  • the state of the evidence has changed since case examiners made a finding of case to answer
  • it has become apparent that the case examiners’ decision was made on an incorrect basis
  • the charge relies on the evidence of a witness who cannot attend a hearing, and an application to read their statement has been rejected
  • the case was referred directly to the Fitness to Practise Committee, and since then, our investigation has shown that it is no longer in the public interest  to continue with the allegation or part of the allegation.

Offering no evidence on impairment

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We will only consider offering no evidence on impairment if it becomes clear that the case examiners’ decision was made on an incorrect basis, or new evidence has come to light regarding the nurse’s or midwife’s current fitness to practise, for example, evidence of remediation.

The passage of time may be a relevant change in circumstance. However, the nurse or midwife will need to show that they have worked in a registered capacity and produce evidence to show that they have addressed the issue(s) and that the decision meets the aims of our overarching objective.