NMC Investigation Lawyers
An NMC Investigation may cause far-reaching consequences for your career and personal life. We understand the stress and anxiety that an NMC Investigation may cause, and we are here to help.
The NMC Lawyers at Clifford Johnston & Co have the knowledge and expertise to defend you in disciplinary investigations and proceedings before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Our NMC Investigation Solicitors have gained an excellent reputation for defending nurses and midwives and we are a leading practice in this field.
We are based in Stockport and Manchester, but as recognised NMC Defence Solicitors we represent nurses and midwives across the UK. We can, therefore, assist you wherever you are based.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a qualified solicitor with the knowledge and skills to support you through this challenging process.
If you are a nurse or midwife who has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) it is important that you seek legal advice from experienced solicitors as soon as possible.
NMC Fitness to Practice
The NMC is the professional regulator of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England. The NMC’s duty is to protect the public by only permitting nurses who are safe to practise to do so.
On the rare occasions that care goes wrong, or falls short of people’s expectations, the NMC can step in to investigate, and act when needed.
The NMC defines fitness to practise as, '..a nurse or midwife having the appropriate skills, knowledge, good health and good character to be able to perform their job safely and effectively.'
Anyone can raise a concern if they feel the safety of patients or the public is at risk. The NMC has a duty as a regulator to investigate the complaint and decide whether the nurse, midwife or nursing associate is fit to practise.
NMC Allegations and Investigations
The NMC has the authority to investigate allegations of 'impaired fitness to practice' and bring formal proceedings when certain standards are not met.
The NMC investigates serious concerns about a nurse or midwife's fitness to practise which could place patients at risk, or negatively impact public confidence in the nursing and midwifery professions.
The NMC’s statutory powers are limited to:
● Allegations of fraudulent or incorrect entry of an individual nurse or midwife to their register
● Allegations about the fitness to practise of nurses or midwives.
Allegations about fitness to practise can be based on:
● lack of competence
● insufficient knowledge of English
● criminal convictions and cautions
● determinations by other health organisations
Fitness to Practice Referral to the NMC
Referrals to the NMC can have a profound impact and life-changing consequences on a nurse and midwife’s reputation and personal life. We will explain each stage of the process and advise you of your options and discuss defence strategy. Whatever the allegation, it is vital that you obtain expert legal advice from a specialist Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Solicitor.
It is vital that you seek specialist legal advice upon receipt of a referral from the NMC. Any response must be carefully considered to protect your interests. Your case may be disposed of by carefully drafted written submissions and without a referral to a fitness to practise committee.
How does the NMC Investigate Complaints?
When a complaint is made, the NMC will initially screen the case. If they suspect that there are grounds for a case to be brought, the NMC investigations team will prepare your case for the NMC Case Examiners.
The NMC will write to you explaining that they have received a referral regarding your fitness to practise. The NMC defines fitness to practise as the ability for a nurse or midwife to remain on their register without restriction.
You will then be given 28 days to respond to the complaint, should you choose to do so.
Once all the relevant information has been gathered, the NMC will send you their investigation report and a regulatory concerns response form. You will be invited to complete the form and submit any further response within 28 days.
Once the response deadline is passed the Case Examiners will decide on how to proceed.
What the case examiner could decide
The first thing that the case examiner will decide is whether there is a case to answer.
If the Case examiners decide that there is no case to answer, they could:
- Give advice
- Issue a warning
- Take no further action
If they decide that there is a case to answer, they could:
- Recommend undertakings
- Refer the matter on to their Fitness to Practice Committee
NMC investigations can take time and you may find that you have restrictions placed upon your practice.
We understand that being referred to the NMC can be a daunting and overwhelming experience and the implications of this can be very serious. Please be assured that we are on your side and we will work tirelessly to defend you.
NMC Interim Orders
Interim orders suspend or restrict the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s practice while their case is being investigated. They are generally made at the beginning of the case albeit they can be made at any time if new information becomes available.
The panel can impose the following orders:
- interim suspension order for up to 18 months.
- interim conditions of practice order for up to 18 months.
The panel can only impose an interim order if it finds it is necessary to protect the public, is otherwise in the public interest or in the registrant's interest and they must be reviewed every six months or if new evidence relevant to the order has become available.
An interim order can be imposed up to a maximum of 18 months. If the period of the interim order is coming to an end and the case is not yet concluded, the NMC can apply to the High Court for an extension of the interim order for up to 12 months at a time.
If you are facing an Interim Order Committee hearing, please call our specialist lawyers for nurses and midwives who will be happy to assist you.
Fitness to Practise Committee (FPC)
The FPC holds meetings and hearings to consider fitness to practise matters.
The committee is a three-person panel, one of whom is a nurse or a midwife.
Once the case examiners have sent a case to be dealt with by a committee, they will write to the nurse or midwife and give them 28 days to tell them if they would like their case to be dealt with at a hearing or a meeting.
Resolving cases by agreement
Some cases may be dealt with by a consensual panel determination.
If a nurse or midwife wants to resolve their case by consent, they must accept the facts of the allegation and they must also accept that their fitness to practise is impaired. The parties will then agree an appropriate level of sanction with the nurse or midwife.
In the case of a final substantive order, you can appeal to the High Court in England and Wales.
If you want to appeal against an outcome, you must do so within 28 days, unless the court decides that there are exceptional circumstances to justify extending the time.
The NMC Lawyers at Clifford Johnston & Co can help you appeal a decision made by the relevant Committee.
How can we help?
Our NMC Solicitors will handle your case sensitively and confidentially and robustly defend you. Throughout the NMC investigation, our experienced lawyers for nurses and midwives will provide you with specialist legal representation.
We provide clear and straight-forward advice to ensure that you have a full and comprehensive understanding of your situation. We provide a bespoke service tailored to the individual circumstances of your case. We will work closely with you, taking a proactive approach, to secure the best possible outcome.
We have a vast amount of experience in dealing with these types and will advise you at each stage of the investigation and subsequent proceedings. We will do everything we can to protect your career and livelihood:
- Police station representation
- Preparation for and representation at criminal trials
- Preparation for and representation at Coroner’s inquests
- Assisting with the preparation of regulatory concerns response forms
- Advice on the NMC investigatory process
- Considering witness statements and exhibits relied upon by the NMC
- Preparing formal responses and submissions to the NMC
- Drafting of written responses to the case examiners
- Collating evidence in support of your defence
- Advising you on the suitability of undertakings and warnings
- Advice and representation at interim orders panel hearings
- Advice and representation in relation to consensual panel determination
- Representing you before the Fitness to Practise Committee
- Providing advice and representation in respect of appeals to the High Court
- Consensual Panel Determinations
- Interim Orders Hearings
- Advice and representation for hearings before the Health Committee
If you have been referred to the Nursing & Midwifery Council, it is vital that you seek specialist legal advice to protect your interests and safeguard your practise.
Why choose us?
We have the relevant expertise and experience to robustly defend you when your suitability to be a nurse or midwife is called into question.
Contact our NMC Lawyers today for a free consultation or complete our online enquiry form and one of our NMC fitness to practise lawyers will contact without delay
Notable NMC Cases
We advised many Midwives, Nurses and Health Care Trust Managers in relation to the police inquiry arising out of the death of JT whilst in the care of Barrow-in-Furness Hospital. The police inquiry arose out of the recommendations of the Coroner following an inquest. A subsequent inquiry was set up by the Secretary of State chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup. We represented a clinical supervisor and supervisor of midwives who faced significant criticism. We were subsequently instructed in respect of proceedings before the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
NMC v K – successfully represented a Supervisor of Midwives in relation to matters before Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).
NMC v J – successfully represented a nurse who had been accused of fraud.
NMC v MC – successfully represented a nurse who had recently been convicted of fraud. The case was dismissed after legal arguments.
NMC v T – successfully represented a mental health nurse accused of sexual abuse. No further action was taken.
NMC v S –represented a former Head of Midwifery over a period of years. No further action was taken.
NMC v G –represented a former Risk Manager/Supervisor of Midwives from Guernsey.
NMC v KAS – successfully represented a senior nurse accused of serious failings in respect of a twin delivery where a baby sadly did. No action was taken.
NMC v KJ – currently representing a senior midwife who had been interviewed by the police in relation to an allegation of Gross Negligence Manslaughter arising from the sad death of a baby. This case has been ongoing for 6 years.
NMC v LH – currently representing a custody nurse involved in the care of a detainee who died whilst in police custody.
Get in Touch
Jared McNally is the Partner dealing with regulatory and professional discipline. He has a wealth of experience in this area and is instructed by clients across the UK.
He has a well-earned reputation for his detailed preparation, tactically astute advice and he offers a first class service to all his clients. He has excellent contacts amongst leading barristers in this field and is very well respected in the legal community.
With over 35 years of experience providing legal advice across a wide range of services and sectors, we are leading Regulatory Investigation Solicitors in Manchester and Stockport providing professional discipline and fitness to practice services from our offices in Heaton Moor and Burnage.
We are proud of the NMC Investigation Services that we provide and the positive difference we make for our clients. Our lawyers are experts in their fields.
Call today or complete the enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you quickly.
We will always respond promptly and we will be happy to help.