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Fitness to practise changes approved

Posted: 15 January 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

The NMC has approved arrangements for a new method of determining sanctions in fitness to practise hearings.

The consensual panel determinations changes will allow the NMC to take action promptly to protect patients and the public, it states.

It is hoped this will happen by improving the efficiency, timeliness and effectiveness of fitness to practise procedures.
Through consensual panel determinations, midwives and nurses who are subject to fitness to practise proceedings and admit all the charges against them will be able to provisionally agree a sanction with the NMC.

The provisional agreement will then be put before a panel, which will have the final decision on whether to accept or reject it.

Rejected cases will be considered in full by a fresh panel, which will decide on an appropriate sanction.

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: ‘Public protection is at the heart of this new process, which will allow us to fairly and swiftly manage cases where a nurse or midwife accepts the charges against them.

‘This process will encourage nurses and midwives whose fitness to practise is impaired to acknowledge this at an early stage.

‘This will reduce the need for witnesses to attend hearings and reduce the length of hearings, enabling us to concentrate our resources on cases where there are significant matters in dispute.

‘Consensual panel determination will help us to reduce the overall time it takes to progress a case, enabling us to meet one of our most important objectives of hearing fitness to practise cases in a fair and timely manner.’

The option of consensual panel determination will be offered to registrants after a full investigation has taken place.

Before putting the provisional agreement before a panel, the NMC will consult the maker of the allegation wherever possible.

All panel determinations which result in a sanction are recorded and published on the NMC website. 

For more information on the arrangement, please click here.