Fitness to Practise

 

When a concern is raised about a student’s fitness to practise, the Faculty will initially investigate the concerns internally according to the Faculty’s procedures. These internal procedures differ between faculties and departments. 

Note: In severe cases, internal procedures can be omitted and be dealt with via the College. 

The following information is aimed at students from the Nursing and Midwifery Faculty and is based on their internal procedures. However, if you are from another Faculty we can still advise and support you through this process so please do get in touch. 

Nursing and Midwifery 

When the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council) code is breached, a faculty level Fitness to Practise hearing will likely take place. If you are invited to an FtP hearing you will be sent an invitation letter outlining the allegations, with the time and date that the hearing will take place. The invitation letter will also detail that you need to write a reflective statement on the allegation with a date that it needs to be submitted by.

How We Can Help

Our friendly caseworkers are here to support and advise you, in a confidential environment on the Fitness to Practise process. 

We can: 

  • Advise you on how to write a reflective statement 
  • Review your reflective statement 
  • Prepare you for the hearing 
  • Answer any questions and concerns you may have about the process 
  • Accompany you to the hearing 
  • Help you present a case of mitigation 

FAQs

Who will be present in my hearing? 

The following people will be present at an FtP Hearing:

  • Chair – who will be a member of staff from nursing and midwifery – leads the meeting 
  • Faculty representative – who is usually programme lead or cohort lead whom the student should know 
  • Senior professional – from any placement provider that King’s works with
  • Student panel volunteer – trained by KCLSU 

Can I take anyone to the hearing for support? 

G29.12 regulation state that students can be represented by a College member, a member of the Students' Union, or a member of the Student’s professional organisation. 

The student will be required to speak during the hearing and anyone accompanying them cannot usually speak on their behalf. 

What about a solicitor? 

Permission to bring a solicitor will have to be sought prior to the hearing from the Chair of the FtP Committee. Please note that the Chair does not have to allow the student to bring a legal representative and will do so at their own discretion. 

WHAT IF I cannot attend my hearing?

If you cannot attend your hearing, then you should at the earliest opportunity let the FtP administrator know. You can find the details of the administrator on the invitation letter that you would have received. 

Hearings are only ever rescheduled for a good reason, for example; health reasons or medical appointments that cannot be rescheduled.

It would also be beneficial if you could provide some evidence as to why you are not able to attend and need to reschedule.  The committee would expect students to prioritise the hearing where possible. 

If the Faculty has not given permission to reschedule the hearing, then it will go ahead as scheduled in your absence. You will receive your outcome via letter through email, within 7 days of the hearing date. 

I am very anxious/nervous about my hearing.

Although hearings can seem very scary, the committee members are professional and respectful in their approach. They understand the difficulty that students can face during the hearing, such as nerves. If they can see that a student is very distressed they will often offer them ‘time out’ to gather their thoughts, or time to speak with anyone who they have chosen to bring to the hearing. 

As stated above, we can also attend the hearing with you and help you prepare for it. This always works well for students who are anxious, as you will get time to discuss things with your caseworker before you go into the hearing, and do some ‘last minute’ preparations. 

Being prepared for the hearing can also alleviate anxiety and nerves. 

What can I expect DURING The hearing? 

Introductions will first take place and you will then be asked to provide an explanation as to why to why you have been brought to a hearing. This will be followed by questions from each of the committee members to help them understand why the particular event happened and what your view on the situation is. Students should attempt to answer all questions asked as best as they can. 

In hearings students are expected to: 

  • Show a deep level of understanding about how the particular event that unfolded led to a FTP hearing 
  • Take responsibility for their actions that caused them to breach the NMC code 
  • Express how the particular event compromised risk and/or any health and safety issues 
  • Express what they have learnt from the situation 
  • Express what they can do better moving forward 
  • Express what led them to making the decisions that they did at that particular time 

Is there a specific way I should be writing my reflective statement? 

Students are advised to follow the ‘Gibbs reflective cycle’ when writing their reflective statement. This is because following this process means that students can show a high level of reflection and enables them to learn from the experience, which in turn can enhance the student’s growth and development in their chosen field and can prevent the situation from happening again. 

It’s also very important that for the committee to determine that the student understands why they have been brought to a FTP meeting, what they could have done differently, and what actions they can take in the future to prevent it happening again. The Gibbs reflective cycle will help the student to express that. 

As mentioned above, we can advise you how to write the statement as well as giving reviews. 

Will I be removed from my programme? 

Students cannot be removed from their programme at this internal (Faculty FtP) stage. However, there is chance they could be removed from their programme if they get referred to a College Fitness to Practise hearing. (See next question too) 

What outcomes can I expect from a faculty level fitness to practiSe hearing? 

In a faculty-level FtP hearing you can expect one of the following outcomes: 

  • Action agreed through committee discussion - they will get conditions (actions) that they will need to take or complete, they could be invited back to a review and expected to have completed those actions. If they have been completed successfully their FPT is no longer under dispute and it is the end of the matter. 
  • Referral to College level fitness to practise committee – This is when the committee at faculty level don’t feel that the student is fit to practise and therefore they have to refer it to the college to make a decision. If a student gets this outcome another hearing will take place at college level and the student could taken off the programme. 
  • No further action – The student is deemed fit to practise and there are no action plans that need to met 

 

When will I get the outcome? 

In most cases you should receive the outcome on the day of the hearing. At the end of the hearing the student will be taking into a waiting area whilst the committee deliberate an outcome. Once they have concluded, the student will be invited back into the hearing and they will be given the outcome face to face. 

However, this may not always be possible for various reasons and if not you will receive the outcome within 7 days. 

I don’t agree/not happy with the outcome I have been given, what can I do? 

A student can appeal the outcome of their faculty FtP hearing. If a student wishes to do this, they must contest the decision within 5 working days of receipt of the outcome. It will then be referred to a college level FTP hearing, where the case will be heard again. 

If I decide to appeal and go to a College level FTP hearing, could I risk receiving a harsher penalty to that which I received in the faculty level FTP hearing?

There are more penalties available at a College FtP hearing, including removal from the programme, however, they student is only likely to get a harsher penalty if they bring aggregating factors to the hearing. 

What happens if I don’t meet my ‘action plan’ that were given as part of outcome from my FTP hearing? 

If you do not meet your action plan, then it is likely another faculty FTP hearing will take place to determine why you failed to do so. If actions plans are not met this can also increase the risk of you being referred to a College FTP hearing, where you could be removed from the course.