The Investigating Committee will usually refer fitness to practise allegations concerning personal or professional misconduct or incompetence to the Professional Conduct Committee.
Once the Professional Conduct Committee receives details of a fitness to practise allegation it will meet to decide preliminary issues such as if the allegations should be considered at a public hearing or in private and if an Interim Suspension Order should be imposed.
Like the Investigating Committee, the Professional Conduct Committee has the power to suspend a chiropractor’s registration if it is decided that this is necessary to protect the public. A suspension order made by the Professional Conduct Committee will last until the end of the process.
If the Professional Conduct Committee decides to offer a chiropractor a private meeting to consider the fitness to practise allegation rather than a public hearing, then the chiropractor will be asked if they agree with this proposal.
A private meeting has the advantage of having the allegations resolved more quickly than a public hearing. However, apart from in certain circumstances such as to present mitigation evidence, the chiropractor doesn’t attend the meeting. At a private meeting, the most serious sanction that can be imposed is a Conditions of Practice Order.
At a public hearing, a chiropractor has the right to (and should) be legally represented. The Committee will hear evidence and representations from both parties in relation to an allegation of fitness to practise, before making a decision regarding the facts of the allegation and if the allegation is well founded.
We have experience of defending fitness to practise allegations and can give you a realistic assessment of your options and the likely outcome.
If the Professional Conduct Committee decides that a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, then they will move onto the sanction stage and will consider the following options:
• take no action;
• impose a Conditions of Practice Order of up to 3 years;
• suspend the chiropractor’s registration for up to 3 years, or
• remove the chiropractor from the Register.
Allegations that a chiropractor is physically or mentally unfit are referred to the Health Committee, which has the power to:
• impose a conditions of practice order, or
• suspend the chiropractor’s registration.
The lawyers of the MedicAssistanceScheme are experienced in dealing with sensitive health matters and can advise you on your options. The MedicAssistanceScheme also has experience in negotiating workable, proportionate conditions that allow practitioners to return to work in a supportive environment.
If you are facing a fitness to practise allegation before the Professional Conduct Committee or the Health Committee, then please contact a lawyer through the MedicAssistanceScheme for independent expert legal advice.