Interim orders and fraudulent or incorrect entry allegations

Reference: INT-2d

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Overview

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In cases where there are concerns about the nurse or midwife’s entry in the register, the Investigating Committee can make an interim order to restrict or suspend the nurse or midwife’s right to practise while the concerns about their registration are being resolved.

In considering an interim order in these circumstances, decision makers will take into account:

  • the public interest in maintaining the integrity of the register
  • proportionality
  • balancing the risk of serious damage to the reputation of the profession against the impact of the order on the nurse or midwife
  • the impact on the nurse or midwife that might include financial hardship if their practice is restricted or suspended, pending a final outcome.

If they consider that there would be serious damage to the public interest due to the impact on the integrity of the register, decision makers will specifically identify the evidence of this.

During the investigation

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If concerns about a nurse or midwife’s entry on the register are still being investigated, decision makers should consider whether it is in the public interest to suspend the nurse or midwife, who may not be on the register legitimately. They should also consider whether the allegation raises any public protection concerns, which may mean it is necessary to make an interim suspension order to protect the public from the risk of harm.

The Investigating Committee can also consider whether to make an interim conditions of practice order. An interim conditions of practice order may be appropriate if an individual is registered as both a nurse and a midwife and concerns about fraudulent or incorrect entry only relate one of their entries in the register. An interim conditions of practice order could restrict the individual from working in either nursing or midwifery.

Court decisions1 have emphasised the need for Investigating Committee panels to consider if the integrity of the register could be properly maintained through sanctions imposed at the end of proceedings.

The determination stage

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At the determination stage, if the Investigating Committee finds the allegation of fraudulent or incorrect entry proved and makes an order for removal, any interim order in place will lapse. Additionally, any order for removal will not take effect until the end of the appeal period (28 days after the date on which the decision letter is served) or, if an appeal has been lodged, before the appeal has concluded.

At this stage the Investigating Committee has the power to impose an interim order to prevent the nurse or midwife from practising until the order to remove their entry on the register takes effect. This power is discretionary and should not be viewed as an automatic decision in every case. The Investigating Committee will consider the public interest in maintaining the integrity of the register in light of any order it has made.

1 See Christou v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2016] EWHC 1947 (Admin)