Fitness to practise (FtP)
Many students within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health come into contact with patients and members of the public, who may often be vulnerable, when undertaking practical training as part of their study. Students who study on medical and healthcare programmes are required to demonstrate high standards of conduct and behaviour and must be physically and mentally fit to undertake the demands of their profession. Students are expected to use their judgement when applying the principles set down by professional regulators and be prepared to justify their decisions and actions.
The Faculty has a duty to ensure that those students are fit to practise and has established a procedure for dealing with student-related fitness to practise issues:
- FBMH Fitness to Practise procedure 2023/24 academic year
- Advice to Students (2023/24)
- FBMH Fitness to Practise procedure (archived) (for cases pre-dating February 2023)
Further guidance on the Fitness to Practise Procedure:
- Glossary of terms - fitness to practise, fitness for practice, support to study
- FBMH Fitness to Practise guidance: Cooperation with medical assessments and disclosure of specialist reports (November 2023)
Raising concerns at School level
Concerns can be raised by any member of staff, by completing this referral form. Please be aware that any referral for consideration by a Concern Review Panel (Paragraph 2) should be discussed with the School's academic lead for Fitness to Practise (usually the Programme Director), a senior Teaching and Learning Manager or dedicated Fitness to Practise Officer.
Any concerns about conduct or health should at first be heard and investigated (Paragraphs 2 & 3) at School level. Only when a School level investigation has concluded can a School level Fitness to Practise Hearing Committee (Paragraph 6) or a Faculty level Fitness to Practise Hearing Committee (Paragraph 7) consider a case.
Escalating concerns to Faculty level
If the Concern Review Panel determine the case should be referred to Faculty they should complete a Faculty Fitness to Practise Referral Form.
Temporary Fitness to Practise Suspensions (Paragraph 4)
On rare occasions, it might be necessary to temporarily suspend a student whilst fitness to practise concerns are reviewed. Paragraph 4 of the Procedure allows for a student to be temporarily suspended, either fully or partially, as a precautionary measure (rather than as a sanction or penalty). This may happen for (or more) of the following reasons:
- to protect a member or members of the University community
- to protect the property of the University or of a member or members of the University
- to protect the reputation of the University
- to avoid the repetition of the circumstances which led to the allegation
- to prevent any disadvantage to the suspended student (e.g. where bail conditions prevent the student’s presence on campus)
- to ensure that any alleged victims or potential witnesses are not subject to interference
- to prevent the student’s continued presence being a source of disruption to the University or any part thereof
- to facilitate a proper investigation into the alleged misconduct.
The process via which Fitness to Practise initial concerns should be managed is detailed within the Process of Escalation for Concerns which may have FtP Implications (Jan 2023). This process allows for concerns to be reported in a way which ensures the correct staff receive information in a timely manner and can ensure that a temporary suspension of a student is considered, processed, escalated and reviewed in accordance with the requirements of the Procedure.
A ‘Triage Team’ consisting of the Vice Dean for Teaching, Learning and Students (TLS), the Faculty FtP, Appeals Complaints and Discipline (ACD) Manager and the Programme Director who have the procedural and programme familiarity to a) decide whether a temporary suspension is necessary and b) disseminate information in managed and timely way to relevant stakeholders.
The workflow is underpinned by guidance documents that have been updated to reflect the proposed introduction of a Triage Team. The revised documents are as follows:
- How to Process a Temporary FtP Suspension under Paragraph 4
- FtP Suspension Guidance for Schools
- FBMH Temporary Suspension Flowchart (Jan 2023)