Should I attend my NMC Hearing?

Should I Attend My NMC Hearing?Should I attend my NMC Hearing?

Each year a significant number of nurses choose to not attend their NMC hearing. There are a number of reasons why nurses do not attend their hearings. Most nurses who do not attend are anxious or embarrassed and fear the consequences so much that they choose not to engage in the process at all. Some fear that whatever they say will not be taken into account. While others fear the publicity: that they will be photographed, named and shamed in the press.

Nurses increase the risks of an adverse outcome in not attending their hearing, particularly if they do not send in any documentation, as well. The reasons for the increased risk of an adverse outcome are many but they are mainly based on the fact that a panel tasked with the responsibility of assessing the credibility, competence or suitability to practise as a nurse, is significantly compromised in assessing the nurse’s version of events and insight into any failings.

Further, in the case of Kearsey v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2016] EWHC 1603 (Admin) a high court judge stated that it may be appropriate for NMC FTP panels to draw inferences from the non-attendance of a nurse:-

    Para 21.’ I note that the Panel decided not to draw adverse inferences from the registrant’s non-attendance. That appears to be a policy for NMC Panels. I am not sure that it is required by law in all cases. The NMC may wish to consider whether it is appropriate, and if so when, to draw adverse inferences where a registrant has refused to engage and to attend, when there are obvious matters calling for an explanation, as opposed simply to pointing to the absence of evidence to the contrary of what NMC says. Not all other disciplinary bodies may take the same approach.’ per Mr Justice Ouseley.

The NMC encourages nurses to attend all hearings, whether they be Interim Orders (IOP) hearings or fitness to practise (FTP) hearings, whether the hearing concerns ill-health, lack of competence, or misconduct.

At Nurses Defence Service we would always recommend that nurses attend NMC hearings, in order to challenge the case against her/him – if the allegations are denied. Or, to present evidence in mitigation of: insight, steps of remediation that have been taken, current competence, feelings of regret, and any other evidence that would put the nurse in a good light. The panels also look at risk of repetition.

In some cases nurses are unable to afford representation and so choose not to attend because they feel it is too overwhelming to participate in the process. At Nurses Defence Service we can provide guidance to nurses on how to prepare and present their cases, even where our lawyers are not instructed to attend a hearing with the nurse.

In many instances we can provide competitively priced specialist representation at NMC hearings. Some of our lawyers are also qualified nurses and they are particularly useful in more complicated clinical cases.

For more information on our legal and advisory services in NMC law and other areas of law, call us in strict confidence on: 0800 01 22 506