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Decisions about practitioners

Each statutory regulator has a ‘fitness to practise’ process for handling complaints about health and care professionals. The most serious cases are referred to formal hearings in front of fitness to practise committees.

We review every final decision made by all those fitness to practise committees. If we decide the decisions do not protect the public properly we can refer them to Court to be considered by a judge. Our power to do this comes from the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002.

Read cases we have considered recently, see which cases we have appealed and find out about previous cases below:

The regulators send us all of the decisions made by their final fitness to practise committees. If we are  concerned about their decision we hold a case meeting with our lawyers to decide whether to refer the case to Court. Read more

We can appeal the regulators' decisions. Read about cases we have appealed, see copies of judgements and Consent Orders and a list of hearings coming up. Read more

Use this section to find out about past cases. Read more

Fitness to practise - some frequently asked questions

Fitness to practise - legislation currently in effect

The NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 has been amended since it was first introduced so for ease of reference we have produced an unofficial consolidated text version, which shows the legislation currently in effect. This incorporates all the amendments made to the Act up to 5 January 2016 from the General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise and Over-arching Objective), the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (References to Court) Order 2015, and the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015. Please note, this consolidated version is an internal working document produced by our solicitors which has no official status. Users should consult an official version of the legislation for the purpose of interpreting and applying the law. The original versions of the legislation can be found on the website.

What does 'fitness to practise' mean?

Read our guide to learn more 

Appealing fitness to practise decisions in practice

See how appealing final fitness to practise cases contributes to public protection in our two case studies: one about a nurse who repeatedly mistreated a vulnerable patient in her care and a dental nurse who turned a blind eye to unhygienic practices and put patients at risk

Why do we appeal some final fitness to practise decisions?

Watch our short animation to find out about why and when we can appeal a regulator's final fitness to practise decision

FtP animation appeals

Learning points

We identify learning points as part of our scrutiny of the regulators' final panel decisions. We thought it would be helpful to draw together the broader themes to produce a Learning points digest:

  • the first digest concentrated on the quality and level of detail in determinations
  • the second digest looked at dishonesty, retrospective amendment of allegations and offering no evidence
  • the third digest focused on registrants' health, expert evidence and failing to bring full allegations.