Otherwise in the public interest

Reference: INT-2b

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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The primary purpose of an interim order is to protect the public. As part of their assessment of risk, decision makers will consider all elements of the public interest. This includes promoting and maintaining public confidence in nurses and midwives, but it will be relatively rare for an interim order to be made only on the ground that an order is otherwise in the public interest. If there is no evidence of a risk of harm to patients, the threshold for imposing an interim order is high.

Decision makers should consider if public confidence in the profession could be seriously damaged by the nurse or midwife continuing to practise without restriction while their case is being investigated and where necessary, prepared for a hearing. So, if the allegations were later found proved, would that seriously damage public confidence in the nursing or midwifery professions, or in us as their regulator, if the public were to learn that the nurse or midwife continued working with patients while the matter was investigated? Decision makers should specify the nature and seriousness of any damage to the reputation of the professions that would result if no order was made.

Decision makers will consider proportionality by weighing the likelihood of serious damage to public confidence in the professions if the nurse or midwife were allowed to continue to practise, against the interests of the nurse or midwife. This includes their right to practise their chosen profession unrestricted, damage to their own professional reputation, and their ability to address any concerns through demonstrating safe practice (although this may be less relevant in cases that do not relate to the nurse or midwife’s clinical ability).