You’re under investigation
You could be asked for a statement following an adverse incident at work that you were directly involved in. For example, you may have administered the wrong dosage of medication to a patient, or you’ve been accused of unprofessional behaviour.
If your conduct or practice is being questioned, then - provided you were a member at the time of the incident - we will check your statement for you. Use our template then please contact us on 0345 772 6100to discuss arrangements for checking your statement before you hand it in. We are available from 8.30am to 8.30pm 7 days a week.
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 and use our template.
If you are being asked to submit a statement for a Coroner’s Court or Fatal Accident Inquiry, please also see the relevant section below.
Read more about discipline, grievance and being a witness.
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,
- you may have contributed in some way to the death, or
- you are concerned your practice might be criticised,
call us for advice prior to 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:
- there is a clear conflict of interest between the member and other staff involved in the patient’s care (such as doctors or other health care professionals), where it would be difficult for the employer’s lawyer/s to represent all staff as well as the employer
- the employer is refusing to represent you, and we cannot persuade the employer otherwise (this includes if you are a witness).
Civil and criminal proceedings
An employer 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.
Police statement in criminal proceedings
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.
If the incident is work-related, call us as soon as you can. If this is not possible (or the incident isn’t connected to your work) 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.
A note on cautions
Do not accept a police warning or caution before talking to an RCN legal adviser or duty solicitor. If you are receiving support from a Duty Solicitor, please also ask them about the possible implications for your registration.
Read more about cautions in our advice about police interviews.