What midwives need to know about NMC Fitness to Practise hearings

02 April 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 4


Less than 1% of the 687, 000 nurses and midwives on the NMC register are considered under their fitness to practise procedures. Fewer still find their case progresses to a hearing. But what does it mean for you if you do find yourself before a panel? Former panellist Jo Hathaway tries to demystify and humanise the processes, to encourage more registrants to engage positively to defend their pin.

For most nurses and midwives, the thought of being referred to their regulator is an unlikely nightmare scenario. Registrants are not overpaid; many make the choice not to pay to register with a union such as the RCM or RCN that would provide advice and free representation were they to be referred. Many do not engage, finding the whole process too stressful and intimidating from the outset, and imagining only one outcome: striking off.

As an independent panellist of the Conduct and Competence Committee and Health Committee for eight years, I experienced two recurring frustrations: the way in which the NMC communicated with those who had been referred, and the lack of engagement from nurses and midwives whose cases were being heard.

In the context of extraordinary pressures on practice, the NMC has seen a 33% increase in referrals in the last year. In this article, I aim to demystify the referral, investigation and hearings process, as well as the role of the panellists on the reviewing Committees, in an attempt to encourage a more positive engagement between the NMC and any registrants referred to them.

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