Dental Student Fitness to Practise Defence Barristers

Healthcare regulators set the learning outcomes and standards that must be covered by qualifications leading to registration.  They also approve and monitor these training programmes.  The standards expected of registered healthcare professionals are set by healthcare regulators and the standards expected of students are based on these principles.

Dental Student Fitness to Practise

Student fitness to practise, put simply, is meeting certain requirements during your training relating to clinical/technical and academic work, professional behaviour and health.

If your behaviour falls below these expected levels, there is an issue with your clinical/technical and academic work or there are concerns about your health that may impact on your ability to achieve the learning outcomes or affect patient safety, the provider should consider if this amounts to a student fitness to practise concern, and therefore warrants consideration through its formal procedures.

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How does the student fitness to practise process work?

  1. If a concern is raised there will be an initial investigation. If no evidence is found then you will carry on in your training as before. If there are some issues that need addressing they may be relatively minor and resolved by you agreeing to additional support and supervision for a period of time.
  2. If the issues continue, or are more serious, they may be referred to a fitness to practise panel or committee through formal student fitness to practise procedures. You should be informed of this in writing and be offered an opportunity to present written evidence. There may be a formal hearing where you have to appear at a meeting with the panel/committee and answer questions about the issues and present evidence on how you are addressing them. The panel will make a decision on the appropriate course of action to help you become fit to practise, or whether it is best for you to leave the course. These are called sanctions. Alternatively, they may provide you with a warning or find there is no issue and allow you to continue training.

There are four types of sanctions:

  • Undertakings – an agreement between you and the training provider where it is found that your fitness to practise is impaired and you acknowledge this. This agreement is usually taken forward before and instead of a formal hearing.
  • Conditions – Conditions such as remedial tuition and increased supervision may be applied where there is a significant concern about your fitness to practise, you have shown insight in to your problems and there is a good chance this will help you get back on track.
  • Suspension from the course – This would occur to prevent you continuing with the course for a period of time. Suspensions occur when the concerns about your fitness to practise are serious but not so serious as to justify immediate expulsion from the course. You would be expected to comply with any further conditions when returning to the course.
  • Expulsion from the course – The most severe sanction is the panel’s decision that expelling you is the only way to protect patients and the public. Your behaviour would be judged to be completely incompatible with that of continuing on the course or eventually practising.

The NMC will require you to disclose conditions, suspensions and expulsions when applying for registration.

Representation and Appeals

Should you have to attend a student fitness to practise hearing your training provider will allow you to be represented. You are advised to seek legal advice to help you through the process and have legal representation should you have to attend a hearing. Your training provider will have a clear appeals procedure for student fitness to practise decisions setting out what the process is and what can be considered. A finding of impaired fitness to practise could have lasting and significant implications for students and trainees.  You are advised to seek legal advice to help you with appeal proceedings.

Recent Cases

Doctor avoids erasure sanction

Where the GMC (or MPTS) deems there to be evidence of impaired fitness to practise, they will go on to assess whether the doctor poses a risk to public protection that requires action on the part of the GMC (or MPTS). A look at the criteria the GMC & MPTS decision...

No case to answer in HCPC case for our client

With advice and representation from Kings View Chambers, we have secured a no case to answer for our client, who was facing allegations before the HCPC.In this case, our client was facing allegations regarding impaired fitness to practise before the Health and Care...

HCPC drops case against our client

In a fitness to practise case that has been ongoing for a number of years, the HCPC eventually dropped the case against our client.In a fitness to practise case that has been ongoing for a number of years, the HCPC eventually dropped the case against our client. In...

Dentist’s career saved with representation from Kings View

In a case where removal from the register was almost inevitable, our client's career is saved with representation from Kings View.Our client, NS, approached us with respect to a long investigation conducted by the General Dental Council (GDC). There were various...

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