If a concern is deemed serious & credible, the NMC will open an investigation, including consideration of early admissions. However, careful consideration should be given to early admissions.

NMC Investigations

If a concern is considered serious and within the NMC remit for fitness to practise investigations, it will formally open an investigation to gathering evidence including interviewing witnesses, and obtaining relevant documentation etc.

It is during the NMC’s investigation stage where a nurse or midwife will have the opportunity to make submissions to the NMC.

What are early admissions?

In brief, the NMC will correspond with nurses or midwives during the investigation stage, including, initially, outlining the allegations and, eventually, the evidence gathered.  Throughout the investigation, a nurse or midwife can make early submissions (including admissions) to the NMC.

When might early admission be appropriate?

It is important to say from the outset that specialist legal advice is important when considering early admission and other submission in response to an NMC investigation.  Early admission and other submissions will be taken into account by the NMC, and getting it wrong might very well lead to poor outcomes.

There may be certain circumstances where early admission and other submissions may be helpful (the list below is not exhaustive):

Vexatious Referrals – These types of referrals to the NMC could be made by dissatisfied patients, patient’s family members, members of the public or a nurse/midwife’s own family or friends. For everyone involved, it should become obvious at an early stage that these referrals are without merit and, often, outside the NMC scope and remit.

For these types of referrals, a nurse or midwife could consider making early submissions to the NMC to have the matter closed at a very early stage.

Isolated Incidents – In cases where allegations relate to an isolated incident, in an otherwise long and unblemished career, nurses and midwives may which to make an early admission to expedite the investigation process.

Whilst an early admission under these circumstances might seem appropriate, isolated incidents could be considered serious – notwithstanding an unblemished career – and it is highly recommended legal advice is sought.

Voluntary removal – The NMC has discretion to resolve investigations by agreeing to a voluntary removal. This would be the case where a nurse or midwife decides to leaving the profession for whatever reason.  Under these circumstances, a nurse or midwife could make an early admission to expedite the investigation and disposal.

It is worth noting that the NMC is not obligated to accept an offer of a voluntary removal because it may not be considered to be in the public interest.

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Will an early admission be considered evidence of insight?

Early admissions could be seen as a sign of insight.  Nurses and midwives have a duty to cooperate with the NMC during an investigation, and there is an overarching duty of Candour.  Under certain circumstances, and with the right legal advice and representation, a nurse or midwife may wish to make an early admission (or acknowledgement). 

When evaluating the strength of insight, the NMC will consider, for example, whether a nurse or midwife has:

  • recognised what went wrong, why their actions, behaviour, or decisions are concerning;
  • recognise and understood the potential public safety risks;
  • fully engaged with the investigation process, including completing a reflective statement and action plans; and/or
  • taken demonstrable steps and actions to remediate.

Things will go wrong, and we are here when you need us

Kings View has been advising and representing health care professionals for many years, and we know that despite their best efforts, some things do go wrong.  Through our experience, we know that the circumstances that lead to things going wrong are never straightforward.

It is a well-established fact that healthcare professionals who seek legal advice and representation at an early stage in any fitness to practise process, generally, receive better outcomes and lesser sanctions, if any.  We can advise on the right strategy to take and represent you before a fitness to practise hearing.

Kings View are public access barristers, meaning that you can instruct us directly without having the additional expense of hiring a solicitor first (so we are generally at least one third cheaper).

You can speak to me today for a free, no obligation assessment of your case.

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.