Review periods, extensions and multiple referrals

Reference: INT-4

Last Updated 28/07/2017

Reviewed every six months unless new evidence available

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Interim orders must be reviewed by a panel every six months. Reviews must also be held if new evidence relevant to the interim order becomes available after it is made. Nurses and midwives can request that a review should be held because new evidence is available.

Interim orders at final hearings 

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If, at the end of their final hearing, a nurse or midwife is made subject to a substantive conditions of practice order, suspension order or striking-off order, the order will not take effect for at least 28 days or, if the nurse or midwife appeals, until the appeal is withdrawn or otherwise finally disposed of. The panel may consider it necessary to impose an interim order to cover the intervening period until the order takes effect for the protection of the public or otherwise in the public interest, or in the interests of the nurse or midwife. The panel should first hear representations from both parties (where present) on whether or not an interim order should be made.

Duration of orders

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A panel can impose an interim order for a period of up to 18 months. Interim orders must be reviewed every six months. An interim order may be reviewed earlier if new evidence relevant to the case becomes available. 

Interim order extension applications to the courts 

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If it becomes necessary to extend an interim order timeframe, we may apply to the High Court in England and Wales, the Court of Session in Scotland, or the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, where appropriate, for an extension.

When a final hearing is not due to conclude before the expiry of the interim order, we will apply to the appropriate court for an extension. We would not apply for an extension where new information suggests that the allegation may no longer result in a finding of current impairment. Instead, we would list the matter for an early review hearing before a panel of the Investigating Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee. If the panel decides the interim order should be revoked, the matter will not be referred to the court.

Multiple referrals

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If a nurse or midwife is the subject of two or more separate referrals, the panel considering an interim order must consider information about all of the referrals. If the panel decides that an interim order is necessary, it should not automatically impose an interim suspension order, but should first consider whether an interim conditions of practice order would be sufficient and proportionate.

If further concerns are raised in relation to a nurse or midwife who is already on an interim order, a panel may need to review the existing interim order at a review hearing. This will usually be required if the new concerns raise a real risk of harm (either to the public, the reputation of the profession or the nurse or midwife themselves), meaning it might be necessary for a panel to impose a more restrictive interim order than the one already in place. In this situation, the panel should take account of all relevant matters when considering the effectiveness of the present interim order in place.

If the information contained within the new referral does not raise new public protection or public interest concerns and is unlikely to result in a change to the existing interim order (for example because the nurse or midwife is already on an interim suspension order), the contents of the new referral should be brought to the panel’s attention at the next scheduled interim order review hearing or meeting.

Disclosure of interim orders 

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Interim order hearings will generally be in held in public. Details of any interim order made will be disclosable, although hearings (or parts of hearings) that relate solely to the nurse or midwife’s health are always held in private. Similarly, details of any part of a hearing that is held in private for reasons other than health are not disclosable to enquirers.

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