Nurses can avoid the anxiety and cost of a full fitness to practise hearing through consensual panel determinations, but care should be taken when deciding the best route to take.
NMC Consensual Panel – Overview
A consensual panel determination offer nurses and midwives an alternative means of dealing with fitness to practise allegations found proven by the NMC, thereby avoiding the need for a full fitness to practise hearing.
There are certain criteria to meet to be considered for a consensual panel determination, but most importantly, a nurse must admit the factual allegations against them and agree that their fitness to practise is impaired as a consequence.
As part of the consensual panel determination process, the NMC will also decide on the appropriate sanction, and the nurse must agree to this.
The NMC have the full range of sanctions available to them as part of the consensual panel determination process. The outcome of the panel can either decide to:
- accept the provisional agreement, or
- reject the provisional agreement.
Insight and Remediation
Evidence of insight and remediation can play a critical role in the outcome for nurses and midwives. The consensual panel will refer to the NMC sanctions guidance when considering whether the sanction proposed is appropriate and proportionate.
The NMC, and guidance, considers an “admission of impairment” as an indication of “a level of insight that’s essential for a sanction to be agreed and for the case to be resolved by a consensual panel determination agreement.”
The guidance goes on to say that aggravating features include “lack of insight and remediation”. Conversely, mitigating features include “evidence of insight and understanding of the problem, and their attempts to address it” and the “early admission of the facts, apologies to anyone affected, any efforts to prevent similar things happening again, or any efforts to put problems right”.
Caution must be taken
Consensual panel determinations might appear an attractive option or alternative to a nurse or midwife, but care must be taken before agreeing to this option. It will not be appropriate in certain circumstances where their allegations or evidence are in dispute.
The NMC itself recognise the importance and necessity of legal representation for nurses. Its guidance states that:
If they meet the criteria, we consider if the nurse, midwife or nursing associate has legal advice or representation.
If there are concerns about the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s ability to understand the effects of seeking a consensual panel determination, we’ll try to resolve them, and may recommend that they seek legal advice. If it’s not possible to resolve those concerns, it might not be possible to pursue a consensual panel determination.
Admitting to the factual allegations against you and agreeing that your fitness to practise is impaired as a consequence is significant. The implications of this could have long reaching implications for nurses. For example, a consensual panel determination would likely be considered in any future fitness to practise issues arising.
Kings View Case Success
With over 30 years combined experience, Kings View Chambers have established itself as one of the best when it comes to fitness to practise defence. We fully understand that fitness to practise defence is not merely about processes and procedures. We also understand that we are working with people who are anxious and worried about what investigations might mean for them, their professions and the reputations.
We have represented hundreds of nurses and midwives for over this period. Recent case success for nurses include:
- No further conditions of practice for nurse in NMC case
- Kings View Chambers successfully negotiate consensual panel determination
We are proud to be rated ‘excellent’ by our clients. Our commitment to client care is genuine in both seeking the very best outcomes for our clients, but also ensuring we do what we can to support them through the process.
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.