The Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation. 2015. (accessed 9 November 2017)

Symon A. Legal challenges to the NMC's Fitness to Practise decisions. British Journal of Midwifery. 2010; 18:(6)390-1

Symon A. NMC found to be acting outside its legal powers. British Journal of Midwifery. 2013; 21:(12)905-6

Appealing a Nursing and Midwifery Council ‘striking off’ order

02 December 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 12


Fitness to practise hearings are a key part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's duty to protect the public, but they can be a traumatic time for those under scrunity, as Andrew Symon explains

The prime function of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is to protect the public, and in the light of recent scandals about maternity care, such as the Morecambe Bay investigation (Kirkup, 2015), it is understandable that the regulator is keen not to allow midwives to practise if they are not able to perform their duties satisfactorily. In such cases, when an allegation of impaired fitness to practise is brought to the NMC's attention, it can, having followed due process—and as a last resort—strike a practitioner’s name from the register.

NMC hearings are constituted as formal legal procedures, with witnesses brought forward and evidence heard. The process it follows in such cases must be capable of withstanding scrutiny, but its decisions can be appealed on factual or procedural grounds. Indeed, this column has previously noted legal challenges to some NMC panel decisions (Symon 2010; 2013).

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