On the 15th January 2020 Sharne received the news she felt was never going to come. The panel concluded that there was no impairment and the case was closed.
She had returned to the NMC following the first part of her hearing which concluded just before Christmas with all facts found proven by the NMC. She was devastated and although had always known this was a possibility felt equally sure that the panel would see the case for what it was and take her version rather than the referrers as the facts to be proven.
She had had a difficult relationship with her previous employer and her time there had not ended well – this is often the case with many who find themselves in front of an NMC panel. She had no means to be legally represented by her union or privately and so her only option was to self-represent. One of our group attended as a McKenzie Friend to advocate should she need it and help her understand the process better. It was also important to ensure she had someone to safeguard her as the NMC is unable to offer this. They have a witness support service but currently, no support is in place for registrants during their hearings.
The first part of her hearing was very stressful, she had to prepare her case – daunting for someone with no legal knowledge and she had to cross-examine witnesses. She was scared and intimidated and at one point admitted she “wanted to run away”. The process had caused her a great deal of trauma and despite having the full support of her current employer she was terrified. During the hearing, her partner, who is disabled, became very unwell, and she had to continue to engage rather than concentrate on him.
The final outcome of her hearing was a huge relief to everyone and we were pleased to see that perhaps, for this panel, the new strategy of being person-centred and taking context and current risk into account has at last been implemented.
We couldn’t help but wonder though, if it could have been concluded sooner to allow her to end in December 2019 and put it all behind her as the year closed, rather than the torture and uncertainty of it dragging over Christmas and into another year. ,
“This group has been my strength when I lacked it, my laughter when I needed it, my friend when I had none, my sense when mine was clouded, my sanity when all I had was insanity. Cannot express how serious things got for me and how this group saved me.”
Sadly after the process concluded her employer suspended her as they did not believe she had been cleared at the hearing. The NMC do not publish their outcomes for this sort of case as there was no sanction and so the employer did not believe her when she explained what the outcome was. After 3 weeks of looking into it, they allowed her back to work but with this and the ongoing effects of the stress she had had it was all too much. She had to have some time off due to the impact on her mental health and personal well-being.
She has now successfully returned to work at a different employer and is enjoying her new role.