Where to go and what to do in NMC fitness to practise hearings
Your hearing before the NMC’s fitness to practise committee will be one of the most significant influences on the outcome of your investigation. The purpose of this guide is to prepare you for the practicalities of the hearing to enable you to avoid any unnecessary stress in the run up to the day.
Where to go for your hearing
NMC hearings take place at a number of different venues around the UK. We have listed the addresses and travel information for the four primary hearing centres below, but check the details you’ve been given carefully to see exactly where your hearing will be held.
2 Stratford Place, London
The easiest way to travel to the Stratford hearing centre is to travel to Stratford station by rail or underground. The Central line, Jubilee line, DLR and Overground line all pass through the station and direct rail travel is possible from Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, Ipswich, Norwich and Southend.
Exit the station following the signs to Westfield Stratford City and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Whether you use the underpass or the bridge over the rail tracks, the NMC’s Stratford Place location will be on your left: the second set of doors before you hit Stratford City bus station.
Stratford International station is also close by, reached on the High Speed line from St. Pancras. When you exit the station, travel through Westfield shopping centre and the pedestrian area, then take the stairs and escalator down to where you’ll see the hearing centre before reaching the bus station.
If you’re happy to drive around London, it is possible to reach the hearing centre by car, too. Westfield Stratford’s car park C is your best option.
The NMC hearing centre is located on the 6th floor of Stratford Place. You can reach this floor with a lift from the ground floor and the building itself has the option of step-free access from the street.
61 Aldwych, London
The Aldwych hearing centre is accessible from several different tube stations, each just a few minutes’ walk away. Covent Garden, on the Piccadilly line, is eight minutes away. Turn right out of the station onto Long Acre, then walk up to Drury Lane. Turning right down Drury Lane, walk until you meet Aldwych, then turn left down Kingsway where you’ll find the centre.
Holborn, on the Piccadilly and Central lines, is just six minutes away. Exit left onto Kingsway and walk down until you find the centre.
Finally, Temple, on the Circle and District lines, is eight minutes away. Turn left up Arundel Street from the station and keep going until you can turn left on Aldwych, where you’ll find the hearing centre further up on your right.
It is also possible to reach the hearing centre by rail. Charing Cross station is just over ten minutes away. Exit right on the Strand and keep going until you can turn left on Aldwych. You’ll find the centre on the corner with Kingsway.
The Aldwych hearing centre is on the first floor with lift access. There are no steps up to the building from street level.
114-116 George Street, Edinburgh
The NMC’s central Edinburgh office is accessible with most kinds of transport. The pedestrian entrance is at 114 George Street, but step-free access to the building’s lifts is available between 7:00 and 19:00 at 116 George Street.
The centre is just a short taxi ride from either Haymarket or Waverley stations in the city centre. You can also walk the distance in about 15 minutes. If you’re coming from the airport, both trams and taxis are available to bring you into the city centre.
Access by car is possible but expensive, in most cases. The easiest way to get to the centre by car is to use one of Edinburgh’s various Park and Ride facilities. The hearing centre does have one disabled parking bay if needed.
Temple Court, Cardiff
Temple Court is the only one of the four main centres that is not a permanent NMC location. This means that there is no fixed contact telephone number, though it will not change anything for you on the day itself.
The location is on the edge of Cardiff City Centre and easy to access via public transport. Cardiff Central station is just a mile and a half away, with taxis readily available. If you’re prepared to drive into the city, there are a number of car parks within walking distance.
The NMC often uses other locations for hearings in Wales. They advise nurses and midwives expecting a hearing in Wales to be especially careful when checking the details that they were sent.
When you arrive
Each hearing location is slightly different but wherever you have been asked to attend, you should leave yourself plenty of time before the hearing starts to make sure that you can find the venue. In most locations, you will be told the location of your hearing room and any private room which has been allocated to you for the day.
Meeting with your barrister
Your barrister will meet you at the hearing centre at least half an hour before the hearing is due to start, giving you time to raise any last minute questions and talk through the day ahead.
In most hearing centres you and your barrister will be given a private room available for your use when the hearing is not in session. This gives you a space to ask questions of your barrister or get in touch with us during breaks in the hearing if there is anything of which you are uncertain throughout the day.
What to expect in the NMC hearing
The hearing itself will take place in a larger room. It will involve the NMC’s fitness to practise committee members, the case presenter for the NMC, the legal advisor and any witnesses whose testimony will be called upon during the proceedings.
NMC hearings are also open to the public. Although no digital recording is allowed, any member of the public is able to attend the hearing for as long or short a time as they wish. Public hearings are a part of the NMC’s accountability to the public, allowing full transparency of the fitness to practise process. However, most hearings do not draw the attention of the general public.
After the hearing
The goal of fitness to practise hearing is to determine if the allegations are found proven, if so if they amount to misconduct and an impairment of your fitness to practice. If your fitness to practise is found to be impaired, then which sanction, if any, is appropriate.
If you have any questions regarding the outcome of the hearing or if you are considering making an appeal, you can get in touch with us for further advice.
In some cases, due to unforeseen circumstances, the number of days your case has been listed for may not be long enough to conclude your hearing. In this case your hearing will be described as ‘part-heard’ and will be re-listed to enable it to be concluded as soon as possible. Further details regarding future hearing dates will be provided to you.