the FtP process – Step 7 of 7

Return to Practice from Fitness to Practice Investigations

An FOI in August 2020 by The Midwives Haven showed that there were 750 nurses and midwives with Interim Conditions of Practice. What wasn’t known is how many of these were able to remain in employment whilst the ongoing investigation continued.


We undertake our own surveys of our members to look at many aspects of Fitness to Practice Investigations. In 2019 – 2020 our results showed that from those that responded to the survey that had “No case to answer” at the end of the investigation, 26% did not return to work and another 26% returned but at a lower level than they were at previously. As of January 2021, these figures reduced to 19% so we will continue to monitor this with interest.

We have been involved in a number of articles that discuss this issue:

1. The first in 2019 appeared in the Nursing Standard and looked at the survey and the potential wider impact FtP could be having on the profession. Ely, J (2019) Fitness to Practice Process “damages nurses’ careers” regardless of outcome Nursing Standard 28th March 2019

2. In February this year the Nursing Times discussed the new employer support tools that were launched by the NMC in order to address the fact that in a previous pilot, they ran they found between 50 & 70% of cases that came to the NMC did not meet the threshold for regulatory intervention. This showed them that more needed to be done to push back to employers to ensure they investigated properly and proportionately locally before referring to them if there are still ongoing concerns. This is really encouraging work but still does not address the issue that many employers are still reluctant to employ someone who has an ongoing investigation.

Ford, M (February 2021) NMC launches new fitness to practice support tool for employers

3. The final article was published this month and solely looked at the work we are starting to launch. Again Nursing Times supported us by discussing the work we hope to undertake.

Ford, M ( 14.4.21) Project seeks to support nurses under FtP “struggling” to find employment 

The first part of this work is to link with some nursing agencies to see if they could help with placements for those under investigation without restrictions on their practice. We are excited that both Biolumineux Health Care and Avocet Staffing are committed to supporting this aspect of the pilot. We are busy working out pathways as we speak. The unique nature of this work is that it requires clinical coordinators and leads who understand what it means for a registrant to go through FtP and how this may impact work choices and experience.

The second part is to look at key sites that will be able to support those registrants who have Interim Conditions of Practice (CoPs) on their registration or Interim Suspension Orders. With Interim CoPs by having the Head of Nursing or Head of Midwifery committed to supporting and acting as local mentor, we feel this can be turned into a really positive turnaround. We are thrilled that to date we have 11 trusts who have expressed an interest in this aspect of the pilot. Those can be seen below:

As well as the support by mentors at each of the organisations we will be providing a “buddy” from NMCWatch to give that peer-to-peer support for the emotional impact and day-to-day challenges that only those who have been through the process truly understand.

If you are an employer that would like to join the pilot as one of the sites or are a nurse or midwife that needs additional support please contact us on


06 - Navigating FtP: Restoration


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