If we don't refer a case

Reference: SCR-1f

Last Updated 10/05/2021

 

A decision at the Screening stage that a case doesn’t need to be referred to the Case Examiners or Fitness to Practise Committee means we’ve decided not to take further action at that time. If there’s new information or if there are concerns about our decision not to refer, we can carry out a review.

How we review a decision not to refer

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When we carry out a review, we’ll look at:

  • the information obtained in the screening process,
  • the reasons for the decision not to refer the case,
  • the reasons for the request to review the decision and
  • any new information received.

We’ll then consider:

  • whether something went wrong with how we made the decision,
  • whether there’s new information that could change the decision.

New information is information that we didn’t have when we made the decision not to refer the case to the Case Examiners or Fitness to Practise Committee.

Examples of how something can go wrong with the way a decision was made include:

  • applying the wrong legal test
  • reaching a conclusion that no reasonable decision maker could reach, or relying on evidence which isn’t relevant, or failing to take account of relevant evidence
  • failing to give adequate reasons
  • not applying our Screening guidance correctly.

If we decide that something went wrong with how we made the original decision, or that there’s new information that could change the decision, we’ll consider if further action is required.

We can decide that:

  1. no further action is needed at this time
  2. the case should be sent to the Screening team for further enquiries and a fresh decision.
  3. a case where the concern is about someone’s fitness to practise should be referred to the Case Examiner
  4. a case where the concern is fraudulent or incorrect entry to the register should be referred to the Investigating Committee.

If nothing went wrong with the original decision and there’s no new information that could change the decision, we’ll confirm this and explain how we’ve reached this conclusion.

We can’t refer a case to the Case Examiners or Fitness to Practise Committee if the nurse, midwife or nursing associate lapsed from our register between the time the decision was made and the request to review that decision. If that’s the case, we’ll still carry out the review and keep a record of the outcome, in case the nurse, midwife or nursing associate applies to be readmitted to the register later.

After we’ve reviewed the decision

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If we decide that no further action is needed at this time, we won’t look into the same concerns again unless there’s new information that’s capable of changing the decision.

If someone is unhappy about our customer service or feels the right process wasn’t followed, our Corporate Complaints and Enquiries team can look into it. However their role is limited to reviewing how we’ve handled the case. They won’t be able to change the decision.

New referrals

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Sometimes, we’ll find new information during our review that amounts to a new concern. If that happens and if we can, we’ll decide whether the new concern needs to be investigated further as part of our review of the original decision. However, if we decide we need more information about a new concern, we’ll send it to our screening team as a new referral. The screening team will make further enquiries and decide whether the concern should be referred to the Case Examiners or Fitness to Practise Committee.

Who do we tell about our review of a decision

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There are some things we’ll do when we’re asked to review a decision not to refer a case to the Case Examiners or Fitness to Practise Committee.

  1. We’ll contact the person who requested the review to make sure we understand their concerns about the original decision. We’ll also check they’ve given us any new information they’d like us to take into account.
  2. We’ll tell the nurse, midwife or nursing associate that we’re going to review the decision and explain why. We’ll also tell people who were involved at the screening stage, if they need to know. This could include employers, patients or other organisations.
  3. We’ll communicate the outcome of our review to the person who requested it. We’ll also tell the nurse, midwife or nursing associate, and anyone else we told about the request to review the decision.

The guidance in our library, needs to be read alongside our NMC Guidance during the Covid-19 emergency period. We have new rules that are in force during the period of  the coronavirus emergency that are relevant to how it applies.

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