Students hoping to embark on a career in medicine, law, nursing, social care, dentistry and veterinary surgery face long, intensive and often stressful professional training programmes and throughout their training right up to professional registration, the university has a duty to protect the public by ensuring each student is fit to practise in the area that they have studied.
There is a lot at stake for these students and should their Fitness to Practise be called into question, it could potentially mark the end of their career before it’s even started. This is why Fitness to Practise is such a hot topic in these professions. Fitness to Practise panels can make or break people’s careers and the consequences for the students can be devastating.
Quite rightly, it is imperative that students comply with the professional codes of conduct that form an integral part of the professional programme they are studying. As a student you are required to take a responsible and professional approach to your studies and demonstrate the expected knowledge and behaviours that the profession you are studying for require. Failure to do this could potentially result in being called to a Fitness to Practise panel and this is when your whole future career can lie in the balance.
Dealing with the allegation
Despite the rigour that surrounds Fitness to Practise hearings there have been a number of cases where the university have got it wrong. Students have been wrongly accused and unfairly criticised and in some cases, the student should never have been called to a hearing in the first place. In addition, it is essential that the university adhere both to its procedures and to the rules of natural justice – these, again, are areas where universities often get it wrong.
The laws surrounding Fitness to Practise can be complex and highly contentious. There are a number of scenarios where Fitness to Practise concerns can arise and these include incidents of plagiarising, criminal conviction, drug/alcohol abuse, inappropriate behaviour, infrequent course attendance and a plethora of other reasons. The panel need to assess the evidence that has been collated for the allegation and then determine what the outcome should be. If you are facing an allegation, it is crucial that you prepare the best case possible, including putting together a written statement, collecting additional supporting evidence and being in a position to explain any mitigating circumstances.
The possible outcomes of the hearing are:
1. There is no case to answer and you will be allowed to continue your study.
2. There is a case to answer and the panel will make recommendations such as retaking part of the programme, being suspended for a period of time, undertaking a formal learning contract, providing evidence of your improvement or worse case scenario, being withdrawn completely.
Action you should take
If you have been called to a hearing then it’s important that you act quickly and prepare your case. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly then we advise you to take legal advice. There is too much at stake to leave the outcome to chance and at Match Solicitors we have helped many students who have faced allegations defend their case successfully and get the right result.
Contact us now to discuss your case in confidence.