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A guide for RCN members asked to write a statement for a workplace investigation, in response to a complaint or about an incident at work.
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If your employer or agency asks you for a statement, ask them to put their request in writing so that you know exactly what you are being asked to write about. Your employer should give you reasonable time to prepare your statement and have it checked by your union.
Use this guidance to write and structure your statement.
We offer a statement checking service to our members. Call us on 0345 772 6100 to discuss arrangements for checking your statement before you hand it in. We are available from 8.30am to 8.30pm 7 days a week.
Add your personal details to the top of the page:
Subject of statement: (for example, patient/client X at what incident/location.)
Then add an introduction:
I am employed by [insert your employer]. I qualified as [profession] in [month/year of qualification]. My previous experience includes... I have worked in my current job for [months/years].
This statement is based on [personal recollection/review of records - or combination].
I have been involved in the care of Patient X since [date].
I am responding to allegations [you could list them for ease of reference] / a request for a written statement.
Write your narrative ensuring it is:
Add the following statement of truth and sign and date your statement:
This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
List all documents referenced in your statement and, if possible, where to find them, such as:
Patient records, notes, and departmental documents
Local policies or procedures
National standards or evidenced based information
Professional codes and guides
Format your statement
Add page and paragraph numbers. Double space your lines and ensure pages have clear wide margins at each side.
Review each paragraph carefully, checking that your statement only communicates exactly what was asked for or required. Look at whether the facts can be evidenced. Check that the facts you provide are clearly and objectively explained.
Remember: if you feel your practice or conduct is under investigation, call us for advice.
Keep a copy
Always keep a copy of your statement for future reference. If any oral evidence you are asked to give at a later date is significantly different from your written statement, this might affect your credibility.Back to contents
Sometimes your statement will be prepared by someone else in your workplace, for you to sign. This might have been prepared as a result of a meeting with you or by your manager. If you disagree with any of the content do not sign and submit the statement. Return the statement to your employer clearly indicating the areas for amendment. Call us if you are concerned.Back to contents
You could be asked to make a statement as an independent bystander, or - as a health care professional - you may have witnessed bullying or poor practice. This could lead to formal proceedings against someone else and you may be required to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing as a witness. If there is no risk to you, we do not represent members attending a hearing as a witness, nor do we check statements before you give it to your employer. You should prepare your statement in line with this guidance.
If you are asked to provide a statement for an inquest or coroner’s court check your employer’s policy. You may be required to talk to management, or your employer’s solicitor, before speaking to the Coroner’s Office/officer. The policy should outline whether your employer will arrange representation for you to avoid incriminating yourself.
If there is a risk of you being prosecuted in connection with a death, or you may have contributed in some way to the death, call us for advice prior submitting or signing any statement.
We expect the employer to represent its employees at an inquest. However, in certain exceptional circumstances, we may provide support where:
Management may receive a complaint and request a statement about an incident which could result in a civil or criminal claim. This could include, for example, loss of property, personal injury or death following treatment. If you have been asked to prepare a statement in connection with any potential litigation/legal action (such as a medical negligence claim) against you or your employer, call us for advice before you submit your statement.
It can be very frightening to be questioned by the police. If you are a suspect (i.e. the police say that they will be interviewing you under caution) you should not answer questions or submit any statement until you have legal support. Call us as soon as you can. If this is not possible you must seek the support of the duty solicitor at the police station.
Read our advice on police interviews.
If you have been asked to prepare a statement regarding an alleged criminal act carried out by another/ others then assess the risk to yourself before you submit a statement. If you are concerned, call us.Back to contents
Gov.uk (England and Wales)Back to contents