the FtP process – Step 2 of 7
Navigating FtP: Interim Orders and extensions
Interim Order Hearings (IOH)
The NMC may have an Interim Orders Panel (IOP) hearing, to determine whether a nurse should be suspended or restricted with a Conditions of Practice (CoP), or can carry on unrestricted while the NMC investigation takes place. Whilst these usually happen within 8 weeks of a referral to the NMC they can occur at any point following referral and can also be placed if new information comes to light during the investigation phase. Not receiving an interim order does not give an indication of what the outcome of the overall investigation may be. Some registrants have had no IO but then received a substantial impairment following full investigation and visa versa.
The IOH is a risk assessment performed by the NMC based on the balance of probabilities of risk associated with the allegations. It is tricky to understand as it is not based on any examination of evidence. It is purely a risk assessment to determine if, whilst they do investigate, the public would be at any risk by you continuing to work unrestricted.
This can be either an Interim Conditions of Practice:
- the panel imposes conditions on the nurse, midwife or nursing associate for up to 18 months
- the panel suspends the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s registration for up to 18 months.
NMC Guide to Interim Order Hearings
The NMC has produced some useful guides – this one helps to explain an Interim Order Hearing with some good questions and answers. The NMC must satisfy the test for interim orders in order to place them – here is further explanation.
The RCN has produced some great leaflets that explain this further:
Unlike a full hearing, you will not get an opportunity to say anything about your case other than confirm your name and PIN number – your representative will give an outline to indicate why no Interim order is required and you can give the panel evidence to back this up such as testimonials from work colleagues and initial reflections. At NMCWatch we sometimes get the registrant we are advocating for, to speak briefly at the end before the panel go off to make their decision. This is decided on a case-by-case basis but is sometimes helpful.
Read more about NMC IOP hearings. This flowchart outlines what happens during an IOH quite clearly.
Some investigations can take many months or years, so an IOP hearing is held to safeguard the public interest, protect patients, and otherwise uphold confidence in the nursing profession and the NMC. An IOP Order has to be reviewed every 6 months and can only run for a total period of 18 months.
If the investigation has not concluded by this time the NMC will have to apply to the High Court for an extension to the Interim Order. Although not widely publicised by the NMC you can attend this hearing and you can provide a submission to the judge – many people don’t bother but this is your opportunity to explain to the court why you feel the excessive amount of time to investigate to date should not continue.
Here is an example of a submission against extension, the registrant this was used for is happy for you to replicate it for your own case as a template:
Please look at the separate section that explains Conditions of Practice.