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Support to Practice

What is Support to Practise?

If you are studying a course that leads to professional registration such as Nursing, Medicine or Pharmacy(and others), and your conduct raises concerns about your suitability to enter that profession, your fitness to practise may be called into question. Fitness to Practise concerns about your conduct can be about both your conduct on placement and your personal conduct. The University may show concerns if have a health condition which you are struggling to manage which in turn may affect your fitness to practise.

Remember that if you are signed up to a social networking site, you are responsible for what you publish on your profiles and the internet. Take care in what you post as this is something that can regularly call into question an individual’s fitness to practise if the content is, or is perceived to be, inappropriate or offensive.

Your obligations

  • Ensure your behaviour is professional at all times during placement and in your personal life, especially when representing the University.
  • Ensure that you are mentally and physically fit to practise and if not, seek the necessary support.
  • If anything arises during the course of your studies, seek advice and support. Not disclosing information can be a serious breach of your professional body rules and is sometimes seen as more serious than the issue you are disclosing.

Disclosure of a concern

About other students - If you have a concern about a fellow student and are worried about their fitness to practise, you are obliged to disclose this to the University. If you are unsure about how to approach this, you may wish to contact your personal tutor to discuss this with them. They will be able to offer guidance on how you should disclose the information and may be able to make the disclosure for you.

About yourself – If you receive a caution, police warning or criminal conviction or are aware that you have broken University rules, you must report this to Education and Student Services by emailing . If you fail to report any of the above, this may in itself be seen as a breach of the fitness to practise regulations.

It is also your responsibility to report any health issues that may have an impact on your fitness to practise. You may already have a health condition upon your commencement as a University student, in which case you must make the University aware of your health issues beforehand. If you develop a health concern that may impact your ability to complete the tasks associated with your studies safety or may cause a risk to patients/clients, you must notify the University straight away. If you report a change in your condition you will likely be referred to Occupational Health who will review whether or not you are fit to practise.

Process of Investigation

The concern should be reported to the Director of Education who will in turn refer it to the Head of School who will decide whether or not to initiate the Fitness to Practise procedure. If the Head of School decides to initiate the procedure they will nominate an investigating officer who will be a senior member of staff from the same disciplinary background as the student.

They will contact the student in writing and outline:

  • The details of the allegations
  • The identity of the investigating officer
  • Any suspension from practice or conditions placed upon the continuance of study
  • Right to be accompanied
  • Importance of ensuring that they understand the report requirements set out by their regulatory body.

Once they have conducted their investigation which will include interviewing the student, they will draft a report and decide one of the following outcomes:

  • There is no case to answer and dismiss the case. 
  • There is evidence of misconduct but the student’s fitness to practise is not impaired and impose a warning which will remain on the student’s record.
  • There is evidence of misconduct and the student’s fitness to practise is impaired but the student acknowledges the impairment, has shown insight and is seeking ways to address the underlying problem.  The student may receive conditions in writing that they will have to adhere to.
  • The concerns about the student’s fitness to practise are serious and refer the case to a Fitness to Practise Panel.
  • Further investigations are required.
  • The case should be referred under the Conduct Regulations, Academic Offences, or other procedures.

Fitness to Practise Panel

This shall be a University panel meeting made up of senior members of University staff and professionals. The panel will meet with the student and decide whether or not action is required. They have a range of available outcomes which are;

  1. The student receives no warning or sanction and is permitted to continue with the programme.
  2. The student receives a warning as there is evidence of misconduct, but the student’s fitness to practise is not impaired to a point requiring any of the sanctions listed below.  If considered appropriate, the student may be referred for consideration under the University’s Conduct Regulations.
  3. The student receives a sanction.  Beginning with the least severe, the sanctions are as follows:
  1. A written undertaking by the student that there will be no repetition of the behaviour which led to the referral to the Fitness to Practise Panel. Any breach of the undertaking by the student will normally result in an immediate referral back to the Fitness to Practise Panel in respect of the original concerns and the breach of the undertaking.
  2. Condition(s) that the student undertakes a particular programme of remedial tuition and/or increased supervision, where the Panel has found a student’s fitness to practise has been impaired because of poor physical or mental health. The conditions should include medical as well as academic supervision. 
  3. Suspension from the programme for a specified time.  On return from suspension the student will be expected to comply with any further conditions as may be specified by the Head of School.  The student should be informed that their regulatory body may require that this is declared at registration with their profession.
  4. Expulsion from programme.

 It is possible for a student to appeal the outcome of a Fitness to Practise Panel under two grounds:

  1. New evidence has become available which was not available for the Fitness to Practise Panel.
  2. There has been a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the Fitness to Practise Panel proceedings.

We would strongly advise any student who has had their fitness to practise called into question, to seek advice as soon as possible from SU Advice - I'd Like Some More Advice.