NMC: Fitness to practise concerns


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is an organisation set up to protect the public. If an allegation is made about a nurse or midwife they will investigate whether that individual’s ‘fitness to practise’ is impaired. The NMC can consider referrals from a number of different sources including patients, members of the public, the police and employers. If the referral is inappropriate it can be closed at initial screening phase.

The following publications, available on the NMC website, provide further information:

The NMC’s investigation process  

The NMC investigate various allegations including:

  • misconduct
  • lack of competence
  • not having the necessary knowledge of English
  • criminal behaviour
  • serious ill health.

The NMC's investigation process is detailed on the NMC website. You can also take a virtual tour of one of their hearing centres.

If you have concerns about the fitness to practise of a colleague you should raise your concerns internally, following your employers policy. After raising your concerns, you or your employer may decide to raise these concerns externally.

At all stages, ensure that you keep records of your concerns, and any steps you have taken to resolve them, as you may need to refer to them at a later date.

Please see our raising concerns guidance and refer to the NMC website for information about fitness to practise.

If you are facing investigation and possible NMC referral, or considering self referral to the NMC, please see our guidance here. It explains what to expect and how the RCN can support you.

If you have received a letter from the NMC, contact us as soon as possible for support.

You cannot be investigated by the NMC for fitness to practise if you are no longer registered, but can be investigated if the investigation started before your registration lapsed. Please note, you have an obligation under the NMC Code to inform any employers if your fitness to practise is called into question.

Contact us for advice and read the Code in full.

There is nothing to prevent nurses or midwives working in support roles if they choose. There are, however, a number of issues to consider including accountability (professional and legal), employment liability (vicarious) and revalidation.

For revalidation, you will need to have achieved a minimum of 450 practice hours over the three year period since your registration was last renewed, or you joined the register.  Hours undertaken in any health care, nursing or midwifery assistant or support worker roles cannot be counted towards practice hours as a registered nurse or midwife.

If you have been struck off the NMC register, you can apply for restoration after five years.

Please visit the NMC website for more information and contact us for advice.

Statements, investigations and discipline

Establish next steps and how we can help.

Professional practice

Read our advice on medicines management, immunisation, revalidation,  practice standards and mental health.

Page last updated - 26/05/2021