Reporting on hearings

Information for the media on how to report on fitness to practise hearings

In most cases, hearings are open to the public and the press are welcome to attend and report on the hearing.

However, the panel may decide to hear certain information in private. This could occur if evidence relating to the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s health is to be heard or if a vulnerable witness could be identified or is to give evidence. If this happens, any observers will be asked to leave the hearing room and the press will be invited to wait in the dedicated press room.

Use of social media during a hearing

Journalists are welcome to tweet during the hearing providing they do so discretely and do not disrupt proceedings. Mobile phones and devices must be kept on silent when in the hearing room.

Filming and photography

We do not provide images of anyone involved in the hearing. Filming or photography of any sort is strictly prohibited on the premises and anyone caught filming will be immediately be asked to leave. Filming or photography may only take place on public land outside the building.

Information available before the hearing

In the weeks leading up to the first day of the hearing we will publish the name of the nurse, midwife or nursing associate, the charges against them and the county where it took place. Employer details may also be published, but only if they relate to their place of employment.

Charges may be subject to amendment during the course of the hearing. In the case of resuming hearings, the listed charge will not reflect any changes which have arisen during the earlier hearings, whether these are due to amendments to the charges or findings made by the panel.

Information available on request

Our media team can provide certain updates during the course of a hearing once the panel has reached specific stages. These include:

  • whether or not the individual has attended and if they are represented
  • the impairment
  • the sanction

At the end of the hearing the panel produce a document called the Outcome and Reasons. It's a summary of the hearing and includes the information above, as well as the names of the panel members and the NMC representative. This document explains how the panel reached their determination and makes clear that the purpose of fitness to practise hearings is to protect the public, not to punish individual nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

Witness identification

Witnesses are anonymised in the Outcome and Reasons document, however we may provide their names on request. Vulnerable witnesses, patients and third parties who are granted legal anonymity to protect their identity will remain anonymous.

Information not available:

  • Age of the nurse, midwife or nursing associate
  • Address of the nurse, midwife or nursing associate
  • Photographs of the nurse, midwife or nursing associate or patients
  • Names of vulnerable witnesses or patients
  • Witness statements
  • Contact details of witnesses, patients or third parties
  • Employer details if the allegation doesn’t relate to their place of work, for example, a criminal conviction where the offence did not occur at their place of work
  • Any other information that isn’t in the public domain as a result of being discussed during the hearing

Interview requests

Any requests to interview participants involved in a hearing must be made in advance to the media team.

These should include the name of the publication or news channel and relevant contact details. It will be at our discretion as to whether it would be appropriate to pass on the request.

Staff members outside the media team cannot be approached to give interviews or facilitate requests for them.