What is Fitness to Practise?
The University has Fitness to Practise regulations in place to ensure that student performance, conduct or health does not put clients, colleagues, patients, staff, or the students themselves, at risk.
All students on programmes of study subject to Fitness to Practise regulations sign the Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise for their respective programme within two weeks of enrolment.
Students on health profession-accredited programmes are expected to maintain certain professional standards at all times. This means you are expected to ensure that your conduct is professional at all times (including outside of university) and you monitor your health to ensure you are safe to be around clients, colleagues, patients, staff, and members of the public.
If your conduct raises concerns about your suitability to enter the health profession, the University will investigate your fitness to practise and remain on the programme in line with the Fitness to Practise regulations.
What might cause your fitness to practise to be investigated?
Issues relating to your conduct, attitude, integrity, performance and/or health can raise concerns about your fitness to practise investigation especially if it could potentially put clients, colleagues, patients, staff, or yourself at risk.
- a criminal conviction, caution or penalty notice of disorder (PND) or equivalents. This includes failing to disclose any cautions or investigation by the police or a relevant professional, regulatory or statutory body
- drug or alcohol misuse
- aggressive, violent or threatening behaviour
- a persistent inappropriate attitude or behaviour
- cheating or plagiarising
- dishonesty or fraud, including dishonesty outside the professional role: For example, trying to cover up mistakes, signing in for other students, claiming more hours than worked on placement
- unprofessional behaviour or attitudes: this includes harassment and posting inappropriate or offensive material on social media
- health concerns and lack of insight or management of these concerns: failure to seek medical treatment or other support; refusal to follow medical advice or care plans including monitoring and reviews, in relation to maintaining fitness to practise; failure to recognise limits and abilities or lack of insight into health concerns; a treatment-resistant condition which might impair fitness to practise
What will happen if concerns are raised about my fitness to study?
The Fitness to Practise Officer (FPO) will, where necessary, investigate concerns and may interview and take written statements from those involve. This means you may be invited to a meeting to discuss the concerns. Due consideration will be given as to whether individual cases are better dealt with through student support and remedial action rather than through the formal regulatory process, and whether there is any record of other concerns on the student’s record.
- There is no fitness to practise issue to answer and all records of the case, apart from minutes of the Board hearing, will be destroyed immediately
- There is a possible breach of the University Regulations on Student Discipline, or that there has been repetition of more minor issues, or unresolved minor issues, and refer the case to the University Discipline Officer
- Although there has been no breach of the Regulations on Student Discipline, the student is in breach of the programme’s Code of Conduct and that either:
- A warning should be issued and an appropriate course of action should be agreed with the student and the issues, the action to be taken and appropriate timescales, recorded on the student’s file. (The student may appeal to the Fitness to Practise Committee against the issue of a Warning). or
- If the student’s fitness to practise is considered to be impaired, the case should be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee. The FPO will advise the student in writing of the concerns and the nature of the impairment. The student will be requested to respond to the allegations.
Possible Outcomes of a Fitness to Practise Committee
The case may be dismissed or the following sanctions may be imposed: formal warnings, action plans requiring supervision or professional guidance, suspension of studies or exclusion from the programme if your conduct or health causes sufficient concern. More detailed information on this process can be found in the University’s Fitness to Practise regulations:
Therefore, we strongly advise you to contact our service as soon as possible if concerns have been raised about your conduct by the University especially if you are being referred to a Fitness to Practise Committee. Our service can provide advice, help you prepare a written statement and explain the fitness to practise procedure in more detail.
What Support is Available?
If you are experiencing difficult circumstances including health issues that may affect your ability to study or your fitness to practise you should inform your School and seek support. Support is available from your School, other University services as well as health services such as your GP. Our advice service can also provide independent and confidential advice and support including on the University’s Fitness to Practise regulations.
How we can help
- We can explain the fitness to practise regulations
- We can help you understand the concerns raised by the University
- We can provide feedback on any statement you wish to submit in response to the allegations
- We can accompany you to meetings or hearings and provide representation
- We can advise on the options available if you are unhappy with the outcome of your case