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Fitness to Practise - Immediate Suspension
Can a registrant be immediately suspended from practising his or her profession?
Yes. Under section 60 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, a registrant can be immediately suspended from the Register.
What does this mean?
When a registrant is suspended from the Register, he or she cannot use the protected title for his or her profession. This may have implications for his or her employment.
How can this happen?
Under section 60 of the Act, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (Council) may apply to the High Court for an order directing a Registration Board to suspend a registrant against whom a complaint has been made.
When will Council apply to the High Court seeking the immediate suspension of a registrant?
The decision to apply to the High Court for immediate suspension of a registrant is not one taken lightly. It will depend on the circumstances of the individual case. When Council considers it necessary, it will apply for an order of immediate suspension to protect the public.
The following list contains examples when it may be considered by Council as necessary to make an application for Immediate Suspension:
- Allegations of violent or sexually abusive behaviour.
- Allegations of inappropriate sexual advances being made towards a service user.
- Charges or convictions for serious criminal offences, including any charges or convictions for murder or of a sexual nature.
- Allegations that a registrant is misusing alcohol or drugs.
- Where a registrant has serious health problems and is practising whilst unfit to practise.
- Concerns about a registrant’s competence which demonstrates for example, a lack of basic professional knowledge or skills expected of registrants practising that profession.
- A series of adverse incidents or one very serious incident causing a service user harm or posing a risk to service users.
This is not an exhaustive list and there may be matters which are not listed above that may be considered by Council as suitable for Immediate Suspension.
When can Council apply for immediate suspension of a registrant?
Council can apply for the immediate suspension of a registrant at any time. The Registration Board and the disciplinary committees will consider section 60 in relation to every complaint that comes before them. If they have a concern about protection of the public they may refer a complaint to Council to consider immediate suspension.
Will the registrant be told when Council are considering applying to the High Court for Immediate Suspension?
Not necessarily. If possible, the registrant may be notified of the meeting and invited to attend.
However there may be cases where the nature of the complaint might be considered so serious that Council may apply to High Court without notifying the registrant.
What can the High Court do?
After the High Court hears the application from Council, it may do one or more of the following:
- Make an order directing the Registration Board to suspend the registrant for a specified period of time
- Refuse the application and make no order directing the suspension of the registrant’s registration
- Make any order which it considers to be appropriate or give any direction to Council or the Registration Board that it considers to be appropriate