Nurses more likely to receive no sanction at FtP hearing with RCN representation

RCN analysis figures show nurses with RCN representation are more likely to have no sanction brought against them at Nursing and Midwifery Council fitness to practise hearings than those without representation.

RCN analysis figures show nurses with RCN representation are more likely to have no sanction brought against them at Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise (FtP) hearings than those without representation.

Out of 217 hearings, 61 hearings at which registrants had RCN representation 
ended with no sanction. Picture: Charles Milligan

Close to a third of nurses and midwives attending NMC fitness to practise hearings with RCN representation receive no sanction.

This is compared to just 12% of those without support from the college, according to an RCN analysis of NMC fitness to practise final hearing outcomes in 2015-16.

The research shows that out of 217 hearings, 61 hearings (28.1%) at which registrants had RCN representation ended with no sanction brought against the registrant.   

This compares to only 90 hearings out of 743 at which the registrant was not represented by the RCN. 

Practical support

RCN principal legal officer and regulatory lead Roz Hooper said the figures also show RCN members are likely to achieve a less severe sanction.

She said: ‘We help people present their best case. We support them practically in showing what they have done to remediate. 

‘We encourage them to think about what went wrong, to go on courses, to do the best they can to get themselves in a better place where the NMC will see they are fit to continue to practise.’

The benefit is despite the RCN’s legal department receiving 1,637 referrals in 2016, 27% more referrals than in 2013 when 1,288 referrals about NMC cases were made. 

Other figures from the analysis include: 

  • A total of 14.7% (32) hearings with RCN representation led to a striking off order, compared to 30.8% for non-RCN representation.
  • Only 39 hearings (17.9%) with the RCN resulted in a suspension against 238 (32%) non-RCN.
  • Registrants without RCN representation were less likely to have conditions placed on their practice: 14.6% (109 cases) versus 19.8% (43 cases).
  • They were also less likely to receive a caution: 10.4% (77 cases) against 19.4% (42 cases).

Mainly FtP cases

There were 960 final NMC hearings in 2015-16 and 23% involved RCN representation. 

A small number of the NMC cases referred to the RCN legal team relate to re-registration and disclosure and barring service issues, but the bulk concern FtP cases. 

The NMC has previously said that, despite a year-on-year rise in referrals since 2012-13, the total number of concerns represents only a ‘very small proportion’ of the nurses and midwives on the register. 

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