Are you a Health Care Professional and facing disciplinary proceedings ?
If you are a registered health care professional, you will be aware that you are regulated by your professional body (GMC, NMC, HCPC etc). The goal of the regulator is to take action, where necessary, and impose sanctions so as to ensure fitness to practice ”
Each case concerning Disciplinary Proceedings is different and requires careful consideration and can demand a different approach.
Some general points, however, can be made.
- It is a matter of personal judgement by the panel members who are determining whether there has been misconduct and impairment. The Panel is likely to consider, at least some of the following factors in forming its judgement, never forgetting its primary function is to protect the public.
- It will ask whether the professional appreciates the seriousness of the alleged misconduct or incompetence. This can often be the most important factor influencing the Panel’s judgement.
- It will consider the defendant’s on going professional development in terms of further training and likely attitude.
- References and testimonials can be important, but it is of equal importance that the providers know that their reference is going to be used for a “fitness to practice” hearing. Some consideration will be given as to whether the witness remains confident in the defendant’s competence to continue practising. In the right circumstances even patients can provide references.
- The Panel may want to know how long has passed since the alleged misconduct and what steps have been taken to remediate the same.
- The seriousness of the misconduct will be taken into account, including whether any harm was caused or whether the charge is one of dishonesty or of a sexual nature. The Panel may question whether it was an isolated incident or were repeated acts of the same or similar nature.
- The personal circumstances at the time of the misconduct such as the defendant’s health, whether they had had insufficient training or were overworked may be relevant, as may be any regret displayed or apologies offered on behalf of the professional.
Whilst other circumstances may have existed and suggest a policy of mitigation, eg a poor hand over from a previous shift, such submissions to the Panel need to be carefully considered, because it is probable that the Panel is more interested in seeing that the defendant has taken personal responsibility for their actions. Passing the buck can indicate a true lack of insight and push one higher up the sanction scale.