Fitness to practise
Mrs Justice Cox recently drew attention to the ‘helpful and comprehensive approach to determining a doctor’s fitness to practise formulated by Dame Janet Smith in her Fifth Report from Shipman. At paragraph 25.67 she identified the following as an appropriate test for panels considering impairment of a doctor's fitness to practise, but in my view the test would be equally applicable to other practitioners governed by different regulatory schemes.
”Do our findings of fact in respect of the doctor's misconduct, deficient professional performance, adverse health, conviction, caution or determination show that his/her fitness to practise is impaired in the sense that s/he: a. has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put a patient or patients at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or b. has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the medical profession into disrepute; and/or c. has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession; and/or d. has in the past acted dishonestly and/or is liable to act dishonestly in the future."’
The learned judge went on, ‘The value of this test, in my view, is threefold: it identifies the various types of activity which will arise for consideration in any case where fitness to practise is in issue; it requires an examination of both the past and the future; and it distils and reflects, for ease of application, the principles of interpretation which appear in the authorities. It is, as it seems to me, entirely consistent with the judicial guidance to which I have already referred, but is concisely expressed in a way which is readily accessible and readily applicable by all panels called upon to determine this question.’
(Healthcare Regulatory Excellence v Nursing and Midwifery Council & Anor  EWHC 927 (Admin) )
6th Edition » | Chapter 18