NMC IOP Extension of Order Case Law for Nurses
The NMC may impose an interim order in certain circumstances, where there is a risk to patient safety or where there is a risk to reputation of the profession if the nurse continues to practise without restriction, or at all. Alternatively, a nurse can be suspended in his or her own interests, or in the public interest.
The following cases concern interim orders panel (IOP) orders or hearings:-
Extensions of Length of NMC Interim Orders:
The NMC interim orders panels have a power to suspend nurses for a period of up to 18months, as an interim measure. If the case against the nurse has not been dealt with (and disposed of) in that time the NMC will apply to the High Court for an extension of order. The NMC has an obligation to hear fitness to practise cases as soon as is reasonably possible. However, in some years the NMC’s case backlog is such that the number of hearings that experience delay can increase. The High Court (in England and Wales) will look carefully at the NMC’s application before granting an extension, to identify whether an extension of the length of the order is fair and justified in all of the circumstances.
NMC IOP Cases 2016:-
In Christou v Nursing and Midwifery Council  EWHC 1947 (Admin) – The high court set aside an interim order imposed on the back of a criminal caution for assault and a failure to inform the NMC of the same, holding that the reasons given for imposing an interim order were insufficient. The judge held that the sanction at the end of the fitness to practise process was likely to be sufficient to meet the requirements of public policy. There must be a serious risk to the public interest to impose an interim order of suspension.
NMC IOP Cases 2011:-
In Nursing and Midwifery Council v Eke- O- Lere  EWHC 224 (Admin)
– An interim suspension of 18 months was imposed by the NMC in a case where it was alleged that a nurse had fallen into error, by providing inadequate care in the community, for a patient who committed suicide while suffering from depression. The High Court extended the suspension by a further 12 months. GMC v Hiew
(see below) applied. (January 2011)
In Nursing and Midwifery Council v Rothwell  EWHC 225 (Admin)
– An interim order of approximately 18 months had been imposed on a nurse who was alleged to have stolen medication from work, while he was in the presence of a student nurse. Initially the nurse was subject to conditions of practice but because of alleged breaches of those conditions the NMC moved to suspend the nurse. The High Court extended the interim order of suspension by a further 12 months, for the NMC to convene a hearing to try the case, noting that the burden was on the NMC to prove that an extension was justified. The case of GMC v Hiew
(see below, the case of NMC v Mayaka) was taken into account. The judge accepted that the allegations were substantial and serious. (January 2011)
NMC IOP Cases 2010:-
In Nursing and Midwifery Council v Myaka  EWHC 3187 (Admin)
– A nurse facing allegations that she had slept on night duty, on various shifts over some two years was suspended by the NMC for 18 months. The NMC applied to the High Court for an extension of the order. The court granted a further extension of 6 months. The court held that there was no injustice in the case. The principles set out in the case of General Medical Council v Hiew  EWCA Civ 369
(namley, the same balancing exercise as that applied by the NMC IOP panel, especially taking into account risk, and prejudice to the nurse) were considered. (November 2010)
In Nursing and Midwifery Council v Okon-Burgess  EWHC 1816 (Admin)
– An extension of an interim order for a further period of 9 months was order by a judge of the High Court, where the High Court had previously already extended the same order by 6 months. A interim order of suspension of 18 months had previously been made against the nurse, prior to any extensions. The judge expressed concern that if a further extension was required, at a later date, the nurse would have been suspended by that time for a considerable period, namely three years. The court said it would need some persuading at that point, if a further extension was to be granted on any future occasion. (July 2010)