Why do we screen cases?

Reference: SCR-1

Last Updated 28/07/2017

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Why we need thresholds

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We need to assess which cases require us to carry out a full investigation, because in order to carry out our overarching objective of protecting the public, we need to make sure that we focus our resource on cases which most need our involvement. We do not intend for the thresholds we set to act as a barrier to people feeling able to refer cases to us, but we do want to ensure that we can prioritise those cases which most need our involvement.

Protecting the public, not resolving disputes

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We must act to protect the public when we receive concerns about nurses or midwives which could involve risks to the safety of patients, or which could damage the public’s confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions. To ensure we can do this effectively, we must act proportionately. Our ability to take considered and effective regulatory action will be lessened if we spend resource investigating cases which do not involve serious concerns about patient safety or public confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions.

The principle of right-touch regulation developed by the Professional Standards Authority is helpful in emphasising the need to identify, quantify and understand risk, assess whether regulation is the right way to address it, and be proportionate and targeted in regulating the risk (applying only the right amount of ‘regulatory force’, having regard to the desired outcome of public protection). Our guidance on how we screen cases also aims to assist us in meeting the Standards of Good Regulation, and in particular ensuring that our fitness to practise process is transparent, fair, proportionate, and focused on public protection.

Our function in investigating fitness to practise cases is not to resolve disputes between employers, individuals or other organisations and nurses or midwives. It is not our purpose to provide redress against nurses or midwives, or impose punishment on them.