I have previously written about the importance of engagement with a fitness to practise investigation and process.  In our previous article, we reported on research published by the General Medical Council (GMC) that found that the outcome of tribunal decisions was consistently linked to doctors’ engagement with hearings rather than their personal characteristics.

The case of nurse Nahid Nasiri has recently hit the fitness to practise headlines following the outcome of a Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise hearing where Ms Nasiri was issued with a 12 month Suspension Order.

You can read more about the clinical reasons that lead to the fitness to practise case on the NMC website.

Ms Nasiri’s case again highlighted the significance of engagement with the fitness to practise process. 

The record shows that Mrs Nasiri was not present or represented at the hearing and in previous months had disengaged from the process and this became a key element of her case. 

It is of course possible for a fitness to practise committee to make a determination in the absence of a registrant – which is what happened in Ms Nasiri’s case.

It appears from the minutes of the fitness to practise hearing that, had Ms Nasiri engaged in the fitness to practise process, the outcome may have been different for her.

For example, the NMC fitness to practise panel heard from the case presenter that Ms Nasiri’s:

    “…misconduct was easily remediable. She submitted that the misconduct occurred in the course of clinical practice and it is possible to carry out targeted specific training, reflection and supervision to demonstrate that the clinical failings have been addressed.”

However, the fitness to practise panel concluded that Ms Nasiri disengagement with the process showed “lack of insight into failings” and “lack of remediation as demonstrated by the registrant”.

Whilst this case occurred in the context of the NMC’s fitness to practise process, the principle remains the same for all healthcare professionals and their regulatory bodies.  This is evident in the GMC research that corroborates the circumstances described in the NMC case.

Stephen McCaffrey

I am a HCPC Defence Barrister who has represented a large number of health and care professionals before the HCPC and other regulatory bodies in either first instance proceedings or appeals. 

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