Where a nurse or midwife admits that their fitness to practise has been impaired, they may explore the option of voluntary removal from the NMC register, without the need for a full public hearing. Normally this would only apply where the nurse or midwife did not intend to continue to practise. The MedicAssistanceScheme can advise you if you are considering voluntary removal as part of the fitness to practise process.
Who can apply for voluntary removal from the NMC’s register?
Voluntary removal will only be allowed by the NMC in limited circumstances. It will only be an option where there is no public interest in holding a full hearing and where patients are best protected by a nurse or midwife’s immediate removal from the register. It is most likely to be available to those who accept that they are no longer fit to practise due to a serious or long-term health condition or they are near retirement age.
It is not envisaged that the process will be available where the allegations against a nurse or midwife are so serious that public confidence in professional standards would suffer if they were not dealt with at a public hearing. This would include cases where the actions of a nurse or midwife have caused the death of a patient or other significant harm, including sexual misconduct.
When can an application be made?
A nurse or midwife can make an application to the NMC for voluntary removal at any time.
However, voluntary removal is not allowed where:
- the nurse or midwife is the subject of a final suspension or conditions of practice order;
- whilst the nurse or midwife remains the subject of an interim suspension or conditions of practice order – so any such order will need to be revoked before voluntary removal can be allowed.
However, an application will not be approved until a full investigation into the allegation has been completed.
Criteria for granting the application
When deciding whether to allow an application for voluntary removal, the Registrar must have regard to:
- The public interest – i.e. protecting patients and the public generally from those whose fitness to practise is impaired;
- Maintaining and promoting public confidence in nursing and midwifery;
- The interests of the nurse or midwife; and
- Any comments received from the maker of the allegation.
What is the process for voluntary removal?
If a nurse or midwife wants to apply for voluntary removal then they must complete a voluntary removal application form, giving details of any matter which could give, or has given, rise to a fitness to practice allegation.
They must also:
- declare whether all of the outstanding fitness to practise allegations are admitted,
- accept that their fitness to practise is impaired, and
- provide information and supporting evidence.