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.

Student Fitness to Practise


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.

By the end of your training, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and health expected of a registered healthcare professional relevant to your training.

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What is 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.

Training providers have a duty:

  • to ensure that students on a professional course are fit to practise in that profession, or will be when they complete the course;
  • to protect present or future patients, clients, service users and members of the public;
  • to safeguard public confidence in the profession;
  • to comply with the requirements of professional/regulatory bodies; and
  • to ensure that students are not awarded a qualification that permits them to practise a profession if they are not fit to do so.

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.

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 as a dentist or dental care professional.

Healthcare regulators 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 or have a supporter present. 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.  You are advised to seek legal advice to help you with appeal proceedings.

Recent Cases

No case to answer for doctor facing 30 allegations of dishonesty

MPTS conclude there was no case to answer for a doctor facing 30 allegations of dishonesty.Dr GVC instructed Kings View to represent her before the MPTS in her GMC fitness to practise case. In a very complex case, Dr GVC faced 30 allegations of dishonesty across 7...

Kings View Chambers represent doctor who accepted a police caution

In this case, Dr S accepted a police caution and delayed notifying the GMC.  Dr S admitted these allegations before the Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal (MPT).Dr S was represented by fitness to practise defence barrister Catherine Stock.  Catherine successfully...

Kings View client avoids NMC suspension

This case involves 2 separate referrals made to the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) by different employers for related matters. The nurse, GG, was at risk of an Interim Order of Suspension that put his new employment in jeopardy.This case involves 2 separate...

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“You may be currently trawling sites for professional regulatory Barristers. I encourage you all to look no further. Barristers Ms Catherine Stock and Mr Stephen McCaffrey are no less than excellent.”

“The matter had already been ongoing for a year, and I was stressed and worried, but from the day I instructed Stephen and Catherine I felt reassured by their professional and knowledgeable approach.”

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