A range of people and organisations can report a health and care professional to a regulator, including members of the public, employers, managers and other practitioners.
In general, employers and managers are required to refer a concern if they have:
- serious concerns, for example, they involve dishonesty, violence or harm to service users;
- have dismissed, suspended or downgraded a registrant’s status whilst investigating a fitness to practise concern;
- a registrant resigns while they are investigating a fitness to practise concern about them or as a result of your investigation; or
- a registrant has been charged with, cautioned for, or convicted of a criminal offence.
What is support?
A fitness to practise process can have a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing. It is universal amongst healthcare regulators that employers should support health and social care practitioners facing fitness to practise investigations.
However, the value and level of support varies significantly between regulators and will depend on the people involved and the concerns raised. Support is normally limited to signposting registrants to external support services, unions, professionals bodies or external legal advice.
It is also worth noting that support extends beyond health and wellbeing. Support also involves health and social care practitioners clearly understanding their regulator’s fitness to practise procedures, when and how to engage with the process and what remediation is necessary.
The inevitable conflict of interest
Why is there a preference to signpost as opposed to direct support from employers or managers? Because inevitably employers and managers will face a conflict of interest; a duty to provide evidence and information to support a complaint to your regulator and supporting your position as employee. Ultimately, the former will prevail because there is a duty on employers and managers to co-operate with investigations and provide evidence and other information relating to the complaint and allegation.
Legal representation key to fitness to practise success
It is clear that a health and social care practitioner cannot fully rely on the support of employers or managers. Recent research conclude that:
- Engagement with regulators was a key consideration when considering any aggravating and mitigating factors.
- Health and care professionals who engage during the fitness to practise process can make a positive difference to the outcome of their case.
- However, key to engagement is specialist legal representation to support and guide registrants through the fitness to practise process, which is complex and legalistic.
- The lack of specialist legal representation has been identified as being associated with more severe sanctions outcomes in fitness to practise cases.
Expert legal representation offers support to health and social care practitioners that employers and managers cannot. Aside from an in-depth understanding of the legal, process and regulatory matters, legal representation is also invaluable in agreeing the right approach and strategy from the outset and advice on remediation.
“The extent to which a registrant engages with the regulatory process, from initial complaint to the final hearing, has been recognised as vitally important to the severity of sanctions. Registrant’s engagement and legal representation can impact on decisions about seriousness, and that the lack of legal representation has been identified as being associated with more severe sanctions outcomes in fitness to practise cases.”
Barristers that care
Support during a fitness to practise investigation does not have to be a choice between emotional support from your manager or legal support from legal representation. Kings View Chambers offer you both; excellent legal representation based on true customer care.
Kings View Chambers have been representing health and care professionals for more than a decade and our customer reviews tell the story:
“Absolutely brilliant firm. Highly recommend. The dedication and care is amazing.”
“The matter had already been ongoing for a year, and I was stressed and worried, but from the day I instructed Stephen and Catherine I felt reassured by their professional and knowledgeable approach.”
“Words alone cannot express how good Kings View Chambers are. Being a good lawyer is one thing, being a good lawyer who actually cares about what they do is gold dust.”
We have a proven track record of success, acting for a range of health and care professionals facing fitness to practise issues. You can read more about our case success, our excellent reviews and contact us for a free, no obligation case assessment.
Kings View offers Insight Works Training, unique and practical courses focusing on impairment, reflection, insight, and remediation at highly competitive prices.
Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.