Nurses NMC Interim Orders Panel Hearings
Nurses NMC Fitness to Practise Hearings
Nurses NMC Submissions
“The NMC has received an allegation that your
Fitness to Practise as a Registered Nurse is impaired”
When an envelope arrives with a postage mark incorporating the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) logo, it may be the first sign of trouble for a registered nurse. The occasion a nurse opens a letter alleging misconduct is a moment the nurse will never forget. For that moment the nurse may be gripped with fear. Perhaps the nurse will have to sit down and repeatedly read the letter to digest what it says. And who does one turn to at such a moment. Colleagues? Family? Friends? Colleagues? Often a nurse feels embarrassed that they are facing NMC proceedings, so much so that they do not want to say anything to anyone. But acting in isolation is unikely to lead to a good outcome. Taking legal advice early, and from specialists who know the field, is recommended if a nurse is to maximise their chances of obtaining a good outcome. In many instances, a case can be closed down on paper at an early stage, where a nurse proactively works with us to reassure the NMC that they are a safe and reliable practitioner.
Nurses Defence Service is a legal defence service for nurses run by qualified nurses who are also qualified lawyers. Our legal team is knowledgeable about the problems UK nurses face when working in both the public and private sectors, and the problems that can lead to NMC investigations into nurses’ conduct. See also our information for midwives.
Our legal team has represented nurses at all levels, from those who are newly qualified, staff nurses, senior nurses, through to senior sisters, matrons, and specialist nurse practitioners. Our team have represented nurses who work in a variety of specialisms, including: general and specialist medicine, general surgery, ITU and CCU, community care, elderly care, paediatrics, psychiatry, and sexual health.
Information disclosed by a nurse in documents and during conversations with out legal staff are at all times held in strict confidence. Our lawyers will examine your case, read the case papers, see you to discuss the case in detail, and give you legal advice about your case. Our lawyers can advise you on the steps to take which may help nurses maximise the prospect of their cases being closed on paper.
Where a nurse denies allegations, our legal team will work carefully with the nurse to prepare the defence case. Witnesses for the NMC will need to be questioned with great care, in order to challenge their recollection of events. In a fair number of cases the witnesses will have made the case up against the registered nurse and the witness will need strong challenges to their testimony. Our lawyers are highly experienced in questioning witnesses, in order to undermine their credibility and damage their overall reliability as witnesses. Our lawyers also make persuasive submissions on a nurse’s behalf.
Our lawyers can advise you on the steps that you need to take whether it is making written submissions (replies to allegations), preparing for an NMC hearing, or attending an NMC hearing. The statement that a nurse compiles at the administrative stage of the investigation will be crucial to how the NMC disposes of the case. It will also be relevant to the level of insight that the nurse has developed (and demonstrates), the risk of repetition in the future, the steps of remediation that the nurse must take (or has taken) to show that they have overcome any sub-optimal practice, and the nurse’s take on how they have fallen short of the standards expected of them (code of conduct, standards, scope of practice, competence, maintaining good health).
Our lawyers can assist nurses in writing a statement, and advise on the other evidence that the nurse should obtain, to submit to the NMC. The NMC can close a case on paper where they are satsfied that there is no current impairment, and that a sanction is: a) not necessary to ‘protect the public’, or b) not necessary to uphold standards in the profession, or c) is not justified in the public interest.
The evidence that a nurse may obtain to submit to the NMC can come from a number of sources. Nurses need to think carefully about what steps they need to take in order to have a successful outcome at the NMC. We can advise nurses on the various evidence that has been successfully deployed in other cases. We have a track record of getting some very favourable results in a large number of NMC cases.
In the event that a nurse’s case is referred to an NMC hearing (heard by the Conduct and Competence Committee) our lawyers will work with the nurse to prepare their defence case. Some nurses admit some or all of the allegations and our lawyers will advise the nurse on the evidence that they will need to submit to the NMC Committee in order to demonstrate that they are fit to practise. Where a case is referred to a fitness to practise hearing, our lawyers can also provide legal representation at NMC hearings and at NMC interim orders panel hearings.
Our lawyers have represented well over a thousand nurses over more than a decade in NMC (and UKCC) proceedings. We have detailed knowledge about the role and responsibilities of nurses in a variety of clinical and managerial settings, including the NHS and private sectors – including nursing homes and private clinics.
If you receive an NMC sanction that you consider to be disproportionate, you may be able to appeal the NMC’s sanction. For additional information, read our NMC Case Law page about the types of cases where an appeal has been successful in NMC related proceedings.
If you would like to speak to one of our lawyers – specialists in NMC law and procedure – then call us to discuss your case, or use our Contact Form for a call back. There is no obligation to proceed to instruct one of our lawyers if you choose not to. In some cases nurses will use the services of our specialist lawyers for a particular stage of their NMC fitness to practise case and then see the case through themselves on grounds of cost. We can assist whether it is in relation to representation throughout the NMC process, or for just a particular stage.
Call Nurses Defence Service without obligation to discuss any aspect of NMC Law on: 0800 01 22 506