Gathering information

Reference: INV-1

Last Updated 31/08/2018

Overview

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Our investigation will usually begin by seeking documentary evidence of the factual issues and speaking to those involved.

We will continually assess what that information is telling us, whether it changes the level of risk and what further investigative steps are required as a result.

If we are unable to obtain the information or documentation required, or key witnesses are not willing to assist, it is likely the case examiners will conclude that the concerns are not capable of being proved.

Requesting information from the nurse or midwife

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We always ask the nurse or midwife to send us a response to the regulatory concerns about their practice at the start of our investigation, and again at the end.

They don’t have to do this, but their response and reflection on the events can help us to understand the context in which the concerns came about. It’s important that we always take any information we have about the context into account as we investigate.

A detailed response from the nurse or midwife can help us focus our investigation on the most serious issues, and any facts that are in dispute. 

If the nurse or midwife raises issues that we need to look into, we can follow up on them early on to make sure we have all the relevant background facts. Waiting until the end of our investigation to tell us about relevant information usually means we won’t have the chance to properly look into it before case examiners consider the case.

If nurses and midwives engage with us early on, it’s more likely that we'll be able to identify what they might be able to do through remediation to put the concerns in the case right.

It may become clear that an outcome like undertakings, warnings or advice will be the appropriate way to resolve a case instead of sending it to the Fitness to Practise Committee. If the nurse or midwife doesn't send us a response about the concerns, these outcomes won't be appropriate.

We may share the nurse or midwife’s response with the person who first raised the concerns with us, especially if that person is a patient, or a family member or loved one.

Whether they choose to respond to us or not, the nurse or midwife does have a duty, under the Code, to cooperate with our investigation. They must provide us with details of where they are working and any arrangements they have to provide nursing and midwifery services.

Requesting information from other parties

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We may liaise with referrers, employers and witnesses to ensure we have a full picture of what happened and how serious it was. Given the sensitive nature of much of the information and documentation required, we consider that all requests for information should be relevant, reasonable and proportionate.

Our powers to request information are set out in Article 25(1) of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001. This authorises us to require any person, other than the nurse or midwife who is the subject of our concerns, to provide information and documents which appear relevant to our investigation.

We may require those who supply us with information or documentation to provide a witness statement which contains a statement of truth and confirmation that they are willing to attend a hearing to give evidence. If this happens we will offer additional support or information to assist with this process. We will send the statements we obtain to the nurse or midwife.

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