NMC sets out plans to safely resume fitness to practise hearings

Published on 02 September 2020

Find out more about fitness to practise hearings

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published information on how it will safely and fairly resume in-person Fitness to Practise (FtP) hearings from 14 September 2020.

With strict lockdown measures previously enforced, and to support nursing and midwifery professionals with the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had temporarily paused some of our FtP work – only managing cases or hearings where there was an immediate risk to public safety.

But with restrictions easing, we’re now moving forward with a gradual resumption of other fitness to practise work, including some physical hearings.

Physical and virtual hearings

Safety measures have been introduced to ensure the wellbeing of those attending physical hearings in both London and Edinburgh is protected at all times. For example, some of these measures will include staggered start times for hearings, one-way systems throughout the building, screen partitions in hearing rooms, and enhanced cleaning arrangements.

We will consider the view of the hearing participants and the complexity of the case when deciding whether to hold it virtually or in person. We will also consider whether a particular format might prevent a hearing from running smoothly. In some cases, hearings may be held through a mix or both physical and virtual attendance.

Public access

Hearings will now also be able to accommodate members of the public who wish to observe. There will be a limited number of spots available for physical hearings in order to maintain social distancing, and for virtual hearings because of technical constraints. Observers will be able to access virtual hearings only via an audio link, to maintain security, or via a video link at our hearings centre in Stratford, London.

More information about how to book attendance at a hearing as a member of a public is available here.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Professional Regulation for the NMC, said:

“Keeping everyone safe while ensuring the process remains fair is our top priority. While we’ve been able to continue some of our hearings virtually during the pandemic, I’m thankful to colleagues who have worked so hard to develop robust safety measures in line with the latest Government guidelines, which will allow us to resume those cases that need a physical hearing.”

Background information

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