000 days

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

Statement re dishonesty

The following is an example of a statement  submitted  to the NMC when charged with dishonesty.  The author is happy for us to share it in order for others to learn. You MUST ALWAYS be open and honest, even more so during your investigation engagement. But when faced with charges you don’t agree with this can be difficult – “how do I accept fault when I don’t agree with how the charges are worded?”

As the file “Dishonesty explored” outlines a charge of dishonesty can take many different guises. Someone giving the wrong medication and lying about it is very different than someone who inadvertently forgot to do something and is now charged with deliberately doing it and by denying is dishonest.

Your case will be individual and you need to ensure anything you write is appropriate for the content of your case. But the information below may assist you if you truly believe there was no intension to deceive, in explaining that you understand the full remit of dishonesty and its gravity but that it does not necessarily apply to your case.

YOU MUSY ALWAYS ensure your legal representative has checked they are happy to use what you write and that it is appropriate and correct. They should be aware of all the referencing that is included but if they are not familiar with NMC process this may be new to them.

This is what one member wrote and is happy for you to read to educate yourself further:

_______________________________________

“I am aware that one of the charges relates to my actions being dishonest and appreciate that an outsider naïve to my case may presume there was a level of dishonesty in my actions. However this was not the case and there was never any intension of deliberately deceiving in attending one workplace and not the other which I think I have explained in my statement of the XXX ( enter date ).  I also understand that a panel will favour any finding of dishonesty extremely seriously as being trusted by our patients and the public is the most important thing about our profession and can make people lack faith in the profession if we act in a dishonest way.

I can not prove to you I am honest, this is something in my character and difficult to prove in any way. All I can do is try to show you my integrity and behaviour has never been deliberately dishonest in any way and that I have reflected since and put things in place to ensure this can not be called into question again.  A charge of dishonesty is extremely difficult for me to accept but I do accept how the NMC have come to having this as a charge against me. How can I prove to you that I am honest? I realise the panel are not making an assumption about my character in the proof of dishonesty but stating that the act itself was dishonest. I understand that a member of the public on reading these charges, may loose faith in the profession if they thought a nurse was dishonest. However, I do feel if they heard the whole picture of events they may also understand that mistakes happen and sometimes we lack judgement in our actions. Lacking judgement or making poor choices is not the same as being dishonest.

I have been reading about dishonesty and how the NMC measures it. I notice that the Indicative Sanctions Guidance was updated after 28th July 2017. This was following 2 cases that were heard in the high court, where registrants appealed against sanction which involved dishonesty charges. Both high court judges were critical of the panel decision making and I have included below some remarks made.

Lusinga V NMC ( 2017)

https://www.casemine.com/judgement/uk/5b2897a82c94e06b9e19806f

 “[83] Furthermore, on the scale of dishonesty, this was a case at the very bottom end. There was concealment but not active deception. There was no ill-gotten financial gain, nor any attempt at one. Mr Lusinga was merely “moonlighting” without permission which could not have been unreasonably withheld and which was not per se unlawful. None of these mitigating features are mentioned in the panel’s decision, which does not include any indication of a proper understanding of the employment law position, as I have outlined it earlier.’

 [84] As Mr Lusinga neither made any fraudulent gain, nor told any lie, nor committed any crime, he should not have been treated as if he had been a criminal, as implied by a comparison with the facts of a case such as Parkinson. Nor had he been found to have endangered any patient or acted with professional incompetence. In those circumstances, the public interest in the safe return to practice of a competent nurse would have featured as a consideration in a fair and balanced sanction decision. It did not”.

[103] I hope the Indicative Sanctions Guidance will be looked at again in the light of this judgment. The guidance does not differentiate between different forms of dishonesty, and takes one of the most serious forms of dishonesty (fraudulent financial gain) as the paradigm, without alluding to the possibility that dishonest conduct can take various forms; some criminal, some not; some destroying trust instantly, others merely undermining it to a greater or lesser extent. 

[104] The guidance, in my respectful opinion, needs to be more nuanced in that respect. It should not lump the thief and the fraudster together with the mere contract breaker“.

These comments were also mirrored in another case later that year.

Watters V NMC ( 2017 )

https://www.2harecourt.com/training-and-knowledge/differentiating-dishonesty/

“The Court observed that where dishonesty is a central feature of a Panel’s determination, as the case of Parkinson v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2010] EWHC 1898 demonstrates there will always be a severe risk of a registrant’s name being erased from the register.  Conduct which is not regretted and exculpated can forfeit the opportunity of a lesser penalty.  Where a registrant fails to co‑operate with an investigation, fails to engage with the Panel’s hearing or persists in misconduct, it will be impossible in good sense for a Panel to pass a lenient penalty.  In the Watters case, the Court found that the appellant did not fall into any of these categories and described the Indicative Sanctions Guidance to Panels (ISG) as a “blunt instrument” when considering cases of dishonesty.”

 If the ISG had been a little more detailed, a little more nuanced and considered the broad spectrum of dishonesty misconduct in a little more detail, in my judgment it is highly unlikely that this appellant would have had to suffer the months that she has since the Panel’s determination until today”. “

 I realise that it is not for me to question the panel’s decision making but I would just ask that on considering sanction and impairment that they do not repeat the mistakes made in the above cases by assuming my denial of any dishonesty means I lack insight or am indeed being dishonest. At no point did I intend to deceive. At no point did I intend to deliberately mislead. I was not calculated in my actions or plan them in order to “ get away with it”. All I did was my best but refused to accept that  had worked with anything but my best intensions and full integrity. I acknowledge  my judgement may have lapsed and that I could have done better but at no point did I intend to be dishonest in any way. Please enable me to remain on the register so that I can rectify these mistakes and continue to be a valued member of the profession,.

_____________________

NMCWatch utilises peer to peer support in order to help you cope with the difficult and stressful process of FtP investigation.

We will NOT always agree with you, tell you the process is misguided or wrong  – regulation is vital to ensure our healthcare is safe for patients and we are as committed as anyone in ensuring healthcare practitioners are up to the job they need to do.

We WILL tell you what you need to hear which is to be honest, accept the mistakes that have been made and demonstrate how to prove you have learnt and improved.

We WILL point out areas that you could improve as well as aspects you need to consider to change if you want to improve.

We WILL also be brave and tell you if there are other organisations which are better suited to support you.

No one, including the NMC, wants to see a registrant removed from practice unnecessarily, but without the appropriate remediation and work on your part this is a possibility.

We have all been through the process so understand, but it isn’t easy and there is no quick fix.

The only way to resolve this is to accept your faults, be open and honest and work hard to show you will do things differently moving forward.

We CAN help you but it will take time.