Independent experts and health investigations

Reference: INV-4d

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Where the health of a nurse or midwife gives rise to a regulatory concern we will often seek information from a local GP or treating specialist. However, the nature of their relationship with the nurse or midwife make it difficult for them to provide an independent opinion on how any condition may impact on the nurse or midwife’s fitness to practise. This can be particularly problematic in cases where the nurse or midwife lacks insight into their condition or their engagement with local services appears to be fragile. In cases about health we may also need specific opinion on how any condition may present a risk to patients and comprehensive evidence on untreated and undiagnosed complex illnesses.

This means we will often need to obtain the opinion of an independent medical expert, both on the grounds of their specialist knowledge and their independence. The independent medical expert will provide us with evidence of the condition in the form of an ICD diagnosis, a clear picture of how any symptoms may present, and how this could impact on the nurse or midwife’s clinical duties – particularly the risk to patients, any risk of relapse and what the nurse or midwife would need in order to facilitate a return to safe practice.