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Fitness to practise - CS101901
Case summary October 2019 | Partly Justified
A student nurse was found not fit to practise and their registration on the course of study was terminated. The student had been removed from a student residence in the early hours of the morning for causing a disturbance. Another student in the residence had complained that the student had been harassing them, in person and via social media.
The student complained to us that the process had been unfair and had taken too long. They also complained that the decision to terminate their studies was disproportionate. We decided the complaint was Partly Justified.
We agreed that it had been appropriate for the provider to use its fitness to practise process but there had been problems with how this had been done.
The provider told the student that it was considering their fitness for practice and that an allegation of assault was among the issues being considered. The investigator who was appointed to compile evidence for the panel spoke to the other student concerned, who clarified that they had not been assaulted. So, the fitness to practise panel did not consider this allegation. But the student did not know that this matter would not be considered until the day the panel met, which was four months after the process began. There had been some delay in the investigation process and in holding the panel meeting. We concluded that this uncertainty about such a serious allegation had caused the student unnecessary distress.
During the investigation, the investigator looked at the student’s academic record and engagement with the course. We decided that this information was not relevant to the concerns about the student’s behaviour, and that asking for it caused the student distress.
We recommended that the provider apologise and pay compensation to the student for the distress caused. But we decided that the provider’s decision to terminate the student’s registration was reasonable. The student had previously been advised that their use of social media was inappropriate and had been asked to reflect on their behaviour towards others. The student had shown a repeated pattern of behaviour which was not compatible with the standards expected in the profession. The fitness to practise panel had carefully considered a range of actions and explained why termination was appropriate.