Navigating FtP: Conditions of Practice

Apr 29, 2021

The NMC can impose with Undertakings or a Conditions of Practice order once the case examiners have decided there is a case to answer. Undertakings are explained more in the next section.

What is a CoP?

A Conditions of Practice (CoP) can be placed on the registrants registration as an Interim order whilst the NMC investigate the concerns and allegations or as a substantive order once the case has concluded. See our section on Interim orders for more details.

When a substantive conditions of practice order is imposed on a nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s registration, they have to comply with the conditions placed on their practice for up to three years.

If conditions of practice are imposed as an interim order, rather than as a sanction, the order allows the nurse, midwife or nursing associate to work while the allegations against them are being investigated. This can be for up to 18 months.

Can I challenge the panel’s decision in the CoP?

You can ask for an early review of an Interim CoP if you are able to provide new evidence to the panel. You can not just ask for an early review because you don’t agree with it. The new evidence may include a better reflection, testimonials from colleagues, evidence to show that job applications have been refused on the basis of the Cop ( in this area the panel may try to give a more workable CoP for you ) or any other such evidence to show you currently pose no risk to the public around safety or public confidence in the profession.

What effect might a CoP have on my ability to work?

Hopefully, you will be able to work with an employer to support you to achieve the restrictions posed by the CoP. But it can be a challenge and some employers may feel they do not have the resources to support and mentor during the period required. The slide below shows the experience of some of our members:

What do the CoP’s look like?

The panel can write their own Conditions of Practice (CoP) and as an independent panel making their own decisions based on the information presented to them they must do so. They do have guidance set however and this guidance shows a number of templated COP’s that can be adapted when making specific to a case.

If a CoP is put in place it must work for both the registrant and the NMC ( public interest or public protection )

The NMC rarely will work with the registrant to formulate a CoP that works for both parties but this would be a very constructive way of moving forward. Therefore the registrants completely understand the seriousness of the allegations and why a CoP needs to be put in place and is more likely to engage.

Have a look at the templated CoPs and think about how yours could be written to satisfy the concerns.

In theory, if you worked with the NMC to formulate a suitable CoP the panel could then review it and ensure they are also happy making the whole hearing process shorter and less adversarial.

Click this link to look at the CoP templates that the panels use to guide them

If I am struggling to find employment with a CoP what can I do?

NMCWatch has recognised there is a need to provide mediation between employers and the registrant to ensure both have full understanding of how to ensure a CoP is workable and achieved. We are setting up a pilot with key Heads of Nursing and Heads of midwifery to try to address this. The slide below explains the aims of this:

We recommend that if you have a CoP and are job hunting, keep a log of the applications you make.

Record dates in a simple table and put the outcome of the application if unsuccessful. For example, rather than writing

  • “shortlisted”,
  • “interview”, etc,

instead write

  • “no job offer”,
  • “interview and job offer”,
  • “job offer withdrawn”,
  • “job offer successful + start date”

If you struggle to gain employment, providing this log to the NMC at an Interim Order review hearing will help them look at trying to make the CoP more workable for you whilst balancing the regulatory requirements.

Look at our section on pilot projects to find out more.


01 - Navigating FtP: the screening process

The NMC’s first stage in their fitness to practise process is screening complaints.


03 - Navigating FtP: Conditions of Practice

The NMC can impose with Undertakings or a Conditions of Practice order once the case …