This site is intended for health professionals only

New FtP guidance on concerns about nurses outside work

New FtP guidance on concerns about nurses outside work

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has updated its guidance on fitness to practise to clarify ‘important principles’ relating to concerns arising outside professional practice, including sexual misconduct and abuse.

Following a review, the guidance for NMC decision makers makes clear that sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and the neglect or abuse of children or vulnerable adults are behaviours that ‘are likely to impair’ a professional’s fitness to practise.

The NMC states that when these behaviours occur outside professional practice, these behaviours affect public confidence and indicate ‘deep-seated attitudinal issues’ capable of placing service users at risk of harm.

Professionals who behave in these ways are at risk of being removed from the register, the guidance states, and there may be circumstances where the NMC needs to investigate allegations the police have decided not to pursue.

Additionally, NMC decision makers will refer to the Crown Prosecution Service guidance on common myths and stereotypes around rape and sexual offences.

Decision makers will be given training about the behaviours covered in the guidance, including their impact and why the NMC takes them seriously.

Matthew McClelland, executive director of strategy and insight at the NMC, said: ‘There is absolutely no place for sexual misconduct, domestic abuse, or neglect or abuse of any kind in society, including in health and care.’

He added: ‘Our updated guidance makes clear that we treat concerns of this nature extremely seriously.

‘Whether they occur within or outside of a professional setting, we will always look into this type of allegation carefully and consider taking the strongest possible action if needed for public safety and public confidence in the professions.’

The guidance update was made after NMC engagement with key partners, including members of the public, professionals, the four chief nursing officers and abuse support organisations.

The move follows the Royal College of Nursing signing an NHS workplace charter targeting the eradication of sexual misconduct within the health system.

GP practices have also been urged to sign the 10-pledge charter.

See how our symptom tool can help you make better sense of patient presentations
Click here to search a symptom