Suspension order

Reference: SAN-4e

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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A suspension order directs the Registrar to suspend the nurse or midwife’s registration for a period of up to one year. They may not practise as a registered nurse or midwife during the period that the order is in force. A suspension order is usually reviewed before it expires. Key considerations are:

  • does the seriousness of the case require temporary removal from the register?
  • will a period of suspension be sufficient to protect patients and the public interest?

When considering seriousness, the Fitness to Practise Committee will take into account the extent of the departure from the standards to be expected and the risk of harm to the public interest caused by that departure, along with any particular factors it considers relevant on each case.

This sanction may be appropriate where the misconduct is not fundamentally incompatible with continuing to be a registered nurse or midwife in that the public interest can be satisfied by a less severe outcome than permanent removal from the register. This is more likely to be the case when some or all of the following factors are apparent (this list is not exhaustive):

  • a single instance of misconduct but where a lesser sanction is not sufficient
  • no evidence of harmful deep-seated personality or attitudinal problems
  • no evidence of repetition of behaviour since the incident
  • the Committee is satisfied that the nurse or midwife has insight and does not pose a significant risk of repeating behaviour
  • in cases where the only issue relates to the nurse or midwife’s health, there is a risk to patient safety if they were allowed to continue to practise even with conditions
  • in cases where the only issue relates to the nurse or midwife’s lack of competence, there is a risk to patient safety if they were allowed to continue to practise even with conditions

When imposing a suspension order the Fitness to Practise Committee may wish to consider setting out clearly expectations it has or actions the nurse or midwife could take that would assist a future Committee with reviewing the order before its expiry.