000 days

since the NMC committed to investigate its ‘established procedures’. We’re still watching!

the FtP process

Fitness to Practice: a comprehensive guide

The information in these guides is offered as a way to help you understand the complexities of the NMC Fitness to Practice process. However daunting it seems, there is always help and support all the way through your case.

The key, we have found, is to get in touch as early as you can, that way we can offer you the most comprehensive support.

We offer step-by-step guides, as well as our one-to-one Buddy Scheme and Advocacy Programme.

All our support and knowledge comes from our own FtP experiences.

Getting through FtP

Navigating the FtP process: step-by-step

There are approximately seven steps which we have broken down into different guides containing a lot of information. External sites, the NMC itself, wider press, our own case studies and industry guides are all referenced and linked to for you to get as much information as possible. Remember to always consult legal advice when going through FtP. If you are unable to access this contact us and we will try to help.

If you have just been referred

We would advise you to start by reading through what the first things to consider are. Then continue through the steps below.

Screening process

The NMC’s first stage in their Fitness to Practise process is screening complaints to check if they need investigating.

Interim order

The NMC aims to complete 80% of cases within 15 months and, in 2019-20, it met this target.

Will they investigate?

The NMC aims to complete 80% of cases within 15 months… However many cases are rejected at the screening stage or found to be “no case to answer”.

Hearings or Meetings

The NMC may have an Interim Orders Panel (IOP) hearing (or meeting), to determine whether a registrant should be suspended or restricted, while the NMC investigation takes place.


Find out what you can appeal against in your result, and how to do this.

Urgency is critical, you only have 28 days from the date of your decision letter so there is no time to waste.


Information about getting back on the registry, restoration of your PIN, and generally getting back in the saddle!

Moving on

Whatever the outcome of your FtP experience, we will help you move on afterwards. Whether it is within healthcare, or something new.

What we do

NMCWatch offers three kinds of support

Buddy Scheme

A 1-2-1 service that aims to reduce the isolation and take the fear out of the FtP process.

Buddies are assigned from the same registry level and have concluded their own FtP cases.

Up to 10 hours to explore the impact and develop coping strategies.

Signposting for legal advice and other specific support areas, including financial.

Legal Advocacy

Following the success of our Advocacy Programme pilot, we have secured a long-term plan for assisting with fitness to practice cases.

This is in response to the many registrants who have no other options available or have found the alternatives have given them unsatisfactory results.

Peer Support Group

  • Free online support to nurses and midwives via a closed Facebook page.
  • Peer support to those suffering from the effects of the process.
  • Linking to others in the same geographical area to give local support.
  • Signposting to other organisations which can assist.

Our Support

Stronger. Together.

The hardest thing about going through an investigation by your regulator is the isolation and fear it creates. From the moment you receive that first letter, you are thrown into something which is akin to a grief response.

Through peer-to-peer support, from those who have been there, we will show you that you are not alone and that we can help you. We may not always agree with you, we may not tell you that what you did was right, but we will stand next to you and show you that you can get through this.

Stronger. Together. It’s as simple as that.

Get involved

NMCWatch is always busy and we regularly have opportunities for volunteers.
If you, or someone close to you, has been through Fitness to Practice investigation, the case has been completed and you feel you can help, please let us know.
We need self-motivated people who can grab a task or role and run with it.

Our Advocacy works!

The messages of thanks we get show the effect our Advocacy Programme has - read more on the Feedback page.

I will be eternally grateful for all the support that I have been given by NMCWatch. My buddy has helped me so much and gave me the strength to not give up when I thought "why am I doing this?".
After 17 months of dealing with false allegations and lies the NMC have finally said they are not going to investigate the allegations.
The buddy program is amazing and without it, I don't know what I would have done. Thank you so much to everyone in the group who, despite going through such a hard time, still take the time to support each other. You are all amazing people.


Retired Nurse

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.


There are some seriously amazing people in this world, and Cathryn and Simon are both sitting proudly at the top of them!
Special people who are the most supportive and caring individuals.
Just off to sob as the 2nd case is dropped and I am finally FREE!!!


Thank you for the support and guidance I received from this group. Cathryn Watters has always given me the support and encouragement to face NMC since I found NMCWatch. Today is my last day at [the] ward, where I did my return to practice and my condition of practice. In February I am joining my new ward.


(Buddy) Sue has been so knowledgeable in terms of process and procedures and given me help and support in preparing my response. More importantly, she has been there for me psychologically. She believed me, and that was the most important thing. Sue understands how challenging this process is and understands the weaknesses of the NMC investigative processes. Sue listened and remembered personal challenges and was there with an important message of support... couldn't ask for a better guardian angel.


Simon Holborn and Cathryn have both been amazing support and help to me during probably the most difficult time of my life. Could not have got through it without the support, reassurance and help.