An individual is fit to practice if they meet the standards of character, conduct and competence necessary for them to do their job safely and effectively.
Your fitness to practice may be called into question for a number of reasons:
- misconduct (such as inappropriate behaviour, dishonesty or deliberate practice failings);
- a lack of competence (not having the necessary skills and knowledge);
- a conviction or caution for a crime in the UK (or somewhere else for an offence that would be a crime if it was committed in the UK);
- your physical or mental health;
- a decision made by another Regulator responsible for health or social care;
- being included on a barred list which prevents you working with vulnerable adults or children; or
- your entry to their Register being made fraudulently or incorrectly.
The types of cases that regulators will consider are generally those that question whether your fitness to practice is “impaired”.
Impaired Fitness to Practise
Impaired fitness to practice is a two-step process.First, it must be decided if any of the facts found proven disclose misconduct, ill health or a lack of competence. If so, the regulator must go on to consider if, as a result, your fitness to practice is impaired. It may be that, despite being found guilty of misconduct, your regulator may find that your fitness to practice is not currently impaired. Your ability to practice is judged by the regulator at the time of the hearing. When judging your current fitness to practice, the regulator may take into account various matters :-
- the risk of harm to patients and/or service users;
- if the conduct complained of is capable of being remedied, for example, by undertaking further training;
- how likely it is that the conduct shall be repeated;
- if you have shown any insight; and
- if the profession has been brought into disrepute.
There is no time limit to when a case can be brought forward and a regulator can consider events which took place many years ago, even at a time when you were not registered. Regulators do not limit themselves to considering conduct which occurs at work.
Anyone can raise a concern about a registered professional. This includes members of the public, employers and other registrants. Although your employer may not commence a disciplinary investigation into allegations against you, this does not mean that your regulator will not commence an independent investigation.
Your regulator is separate from your employer and is not bound to follow disciplinary decisions made by them.
Although there are general principles which are applicable to all regulators, each regulator has their own set of procedural rules. It is therefore important to take advice as soon as possible if any concerns are raised about your fitness to practice.
Get Our Regulatory Lawyers On Your Side
If you are required to respond to allegations of impaired fitness to practice through a Regulatory Hearing it is important that you contact a solicitor for legal assistance. Our specialist regulatory lawyers will give you a free telephone consultation to discuss your case. Talk to Thompsons today by calling 0800 0891331.
We have the knoweldge and expertise to help you.