NMCWatch provides an advocacy program for those who require support during Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) proceedings. Our role as advocates is to support and guide you throughout the process and help you present your case effectively. We also represent and advocate on your behalf when needed.
We are not legally qualified solicitors or barristers. However, we have a team of experts with legal experience and backgrounds, including healthcare professionals, trade union representatives, and Health and Safety and employment law experts, who have experience in the NMC process and can provide you with the necessary guidance.
The majority of nurses and midwives who join NMCWatch have legal representation via their union. We will always encourage members to engage well with their unions as we are not here to offer alternative legal advice. However, through our own experiences, we can assist in asking your union representative the right questions so that you understand how the working relationship will be and how to get the best from them.
Some nurses and midwives choose to seek private legal representation and this can sometimes be funded through your home contents insurance policy. Some policies will facilitate and fund legal representation. The Nurses Defence Service is one such organisation that we hear good feedback about.
NMCWatch legal support
A small number in our group cannot use their union representation due to the cover they have or because of an incident occurring before joining the union. There are some that do not belong to a union and cannot afford to fund a private lawyer to represent them in their case. As a result, we have been working with external organisations to try to address this.
It is well documented that if you do not have representation your outcome can often be worse than if you do – therefore we see how important this is. If someone has had previous union or private legal support we will always encourage them to continue to try to work with these and resolve the issues that are causing blocks. However, for some, ours is the best option.
How you proceed is your choice but we offer another option to explore – something which is often lacking in this process.
Sequentus provide free assistance for nurses and midwives facing proceedings by the NMC where they do not have access to legal representation. Expertise comes from lawyers willing to work pro bono and also trainee lawyers seeking more experience before they qualify.
NMCWatch case support and advocacy
Following the success of a 6 month pilot period we have now embedded the Advocacy Programme into our work. Anyone having our support on the Programme will get:
- An allocated buddy (provided via our Buddy Scheme) for emotional and practical support through the process rather than any legal advice. The buddy will also assist with professional mentoring e.g.
- clinical scenario discussions
- reflection assistance and signposting to any training required.
- An allocated case worker – to help coach and guide the registrant through the professional aspects that need addressing in order to engage with the FtP process positively, e.g.
- building a portfolio,
- statement writing,
- gathering of testimonials,
- and work placement liaison.
- An allocated advocate – this person will take responsibility for the legal representation of the case and work closely with the registrant and mentor.
- Where appropriate for those representing themselves – a McKenzie Friend can be provided to support registrants through hearings and processes.
- Guidance on appealing substantive orders such as strike-off.
Our Advocacy works!
We help you to understand the Fitness to Practice process and the decisions made by the NMC. We guide you on what can be challenged and what needs to be accepted or worked through. Our aim is to empower you to present your case appropriately and achieve the best possible outcome.
NMC hearings can be complex and stressful for the nurse or midwife involved, and not having representation can result in poorer outcomes. Our advocates are knowledgeable about the process, provide emotional support and mentor you to work through key issues to ensure your case is presented appropriately. We collect all relevant evidence and support you to prepare and present your case to the NMC.
It is important to note that while advocacy can usually play a positive role, it is not a substitute for qualified legal advice. At times, we may need to signpost you to a legal representative due to the specifics of your case. If so, we will explain why and will still offer to support and help if required.
We hope our Advocacy Programme can help you navigate the NMC process and achieve a positive outcome.
The messages of thanks we get show the effect our Advocacy Programme has – read more on the Feedback page.
Simon was brilliant this morning… my partner said to me today that Simon achieved so much for me in 2 days [that my] stupid union didn’t do for almost 2 years!
Simon Holborn and Cathryn Watters were my legal team and were both so incredibly knowledgeable about the whole FtP process. Without them, I would never have got through my long and torturous process and indeed a hearing that spanned over six months. Cannot thank them enough for all their help and support.
When I thought I was losing everything, felt worthless and hopeless, and my anxiety was high, I would talk things through with my buddy. They would calm me down, put things back into perspective and help me to restart.
Thank you for the buddy system. Talking through the challenging times is a lot easier knowing someone has gone through a similar process and can really relate to how you are feeling. I am forever grateful.
We will always try to help where we can, either directly, or by signposting you to a more appropriate place.
Our support does not end with your case. Many others will focus only on your case – we focus on you. So, as well as help during your case, you may need support afterwards with, for example, gaining employment.
There is more information about other organisations that might help you in the Additional Support section.
Need legal support?
If you would like to take advantage of our Advocacy Programme, please get in touch.