Serious concerns based on public confidence or professional standards

Reference: FTP-3c

Last Updated 29/11/2021

Sometimes we may need to take regulatory action against a nurse, midwife or nursing associate because of our objectives to promote and maintain professional standards and the public's trust and confidence in nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

This means we may need to take action even if the nurse, midwife or nursing associate has shown that they have put serious clinical failings right, if the past incidents themselves were so serious they could affect the public's trust in nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

We're more likely to need to do this if the clinical failings suggest an underlying issue with the nurse, midwife or nursing associate's attitude to people in their care.

We may also need to take action in cases where the concerns were not directly related to the care the nurse, midwife or nursing associate provided to people, but which call into question the basics of their professionalism. This may cover things that have happened in the nurse, midwife or nursing associate's private life. For example, if they've committed serious criminal offences, or there's evidence to suggest a deep-seated attitudinal problem such as displaying discriminatory views and behaviours.

A need to take action because the public may not feel able to trust nurses, midwives or nursing associates generally is a high threshold. It suggests that members of the public might take risks with their own health and wellbeing by avoiding treatment or care from nurses, midwives or nursing associates. Concerns that someone may have displayed discriminatory views and behaviours can have a particularly negative impact on public confidence, which may lead to members of the public avoiding using health and care services.

We may need to take restrictive regulatory action against nurses, midwives or nursing associates whose conduct has had this kind of impact on the public’s trust in their profession, who haven’t made any attempt to reflect on it, show insight, and haven’t taken any steps to put it right. This may mean they can’t stay on the register.

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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