The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has revealed that fitness to practise proceedings could soon resume and an end of other emergency measures it imposed.

The resumption of NMC fitness to practise hearings will be discussed the next NMC council meeting.

It is proposed that NMC fitness to practise proceedings could resume in person from September this year.  The reintroduction of fitness to practise hearings will be gradually introduced “to help the nursing and midwifery workforce and wider health and care systems during this period of transition.”

The NMC said the changes were designed to help support nursing and midwifery students and professionals as the UK “cautiously transitions to a new phase” in the coronavirus pandemic.

During the pandemic, NMC fitness to practise casework was scaled back to four services:

1. Logging and risk assessing any new referrals, and any new information on existing referrals

2. Interim order applications and review hearings

3. Substantive order review hearings

4. High Court or Court of Sessions interim order extension applications.

Limited hearings were conducted by video to process, for example, interim order applications and hold review hearings.  As a consequence, there is a backlog of fitness to practise case work to clear.

The NMC also said it would “review and restart its fitness to practise casework.”  It might therefore be that there will be an increase in the number of fitness to practise hearings as the NMC works through this caseload. 

I previously reported that the NMC revisited fitness to practise decisions to support front-line staff who wished to return to practise. 

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief executive and registrar for the NMC, said: “At the NMC, we’re now also able to refocus our attention on some of our core regulatory activities –including the resumption of some substantive fitness to practise hearings in person in the safest possible way.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be reviewing even more of our work as we continue to play our part in supporting the UK’s health and care workforce on the road to recovery.”

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