Fitness to Practise Procedures

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1. Procedures to End a Student’s Training

1.1 All programmes shall follow procedures to end a student’s registration if their behaviour:

  • Is confirmed to be damaging or dangerous to other people who use the student’s services, other students or programme providers; or
  • Creates unacceptable risk for themselves or others; or
  • Shows a serious failure to follow the relevant body’s Code of Conduct.

These procedures must give the student the right to challenge evidence against them and the right to be accompanied or represented at any hearing.

1.2 These procedures do not apply to cases of academic failure of clinical practise elements of programmes of study.

2. Grounds for Concern

2.1 The grounds for concern regarding a student’s fitness to practise include the following:

(i) That the student is medically unfit to proceed – the fitness might be physical or psychological; and/or

(ii) Confirmation that the student’s behaviour:  

    • is damaging or dangerous to other people who use the student’s services, other students or programme providers; and/or

    • creates unacceptable risk for themselves or others; and/or

(iii) There is substantial evidence that the student is unlikely to demonstrate and promote the positive values, attitudes and behaviour expected in the professional setting (e.g. as per the relevant body’s Code of Conduct or other relevant professional guidelines).

2.2 The Committee will be known as the Fitness to Practise Health Committee if the cause of the alleged unfitness to practise falls under (i) above, or, if the allegations fall under (ii), as the Fitness to Practise Conduct Committee. The Health Committee shall include a person with experience of dealing with student health issues.

3. Investigation Stage

3.1 Concerns relating to a student’s fitness to practise, whether from an academic member of staff or from an external agency/institution, should be passed in writing to the Head of School. The Head of School shall authorise an initial investigation as to whether there are grounds for concern regarding a student’s fitness to practise, as specified above. The Head of School shall within 5 working days refer the matter to another member of staff for investigation and shall notify the student of

a. the details of the allegations against him/her; and

b. the identity of the investigating officer; and

c. any suspension from his/her clinical course or limitations or conditions placed upon the continuance of his/her studies or supervised practise during the period of the investigation.

3.2 The investigating officer may request the members of staff connected with the case to provide written comments on the student’s conduct and/or health, explaining why there is concern as to the student’s fitness to practise. Factual information about the student’s professional progress on the course and any other relevant documentation should also be provided.

3.3 The investigating officer shall interview relevant individuals including the student himself/herself. At such interviews the investigating officer shall be accompanied by a secretary who shall prepare a written note of the interview.

3.4 The student, in order that a report can be made on his or her fitness to practise on medical grounds, may be required to be assessed by a suitably qualified Health Practitioner as appointed by the University for this purpose.

3.5 On receipt of the report from the investigating officer, and within 5 working days, the Head of School shall notify the student in writing of:

a.    the outcome of the investigation;

b.    whether the matter is to be referred to the Fitness to Practise [Health/Conduct] Committee together with full details of the procedures to be adopted;

c.    the imposition, cessation, continuance or alteration (as the case may be) of any suspension or conditions/limitations placed on the student’s studies;

d.    the options available to the Panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee, including the recommendation to terminate a student’s registration at the University, where appropriate.

The letter will include a copy of the Investigative report. 

3.6 Should the Head of School’s investigation indicate prima facie evidence of grounds for concern, the case should be referred, together with the investigating officer’s report, to the Fitness to Practise Panel for adjudication.


4. Adjudication Stage

4.1 The Fitness to Practise Panel should include the following membership (none of whom should have previous involvement with the case):

  • Chair (normally the Dean of the Faculty)
  • An external member who is a senior Professional Practitioner
  • Two members of the LTB/GSB, as appropriate
  • A member of the Students’ Union
  • A member of University staff with experience of student health issues (where Health Committee only) 
  • A Secretary

4.2 As outlined in 3.5 above, the student will be officially informed of the outcome of the Investigative Stage in writing.

4.3 Both the Investigative Officer and the student will be called before the Fitness to Practise Panel to give their account of the case and answer any questions the Panel may have.

4.4 The student will have the right to be accompanied by a person of his or her choosing such as a relative, friend or Student Union rep (not a legal representative). The student will be given the right to respond to and challenge any evidence against him/her.

4.5 The Panel may, having considered the evidence from the Investigative Stage, call further parties to the Panel hearing as they see fit to answer any questions.

5. Powers of the Fitness to Practise Committee

The Committee may, following consideration of the case:

  • permit the student to continue with the course;
  • permit the student to continue with the course under close supervision;
  • suspend the studies of the student for a specified time;
  • require the student to re-sit a specified part or parts of the course;
  • require any other action considered appropriate by the Committee to enable the student's successful completion of the remainder of the course;
  • determine that the student's studies on a course leading to a professional qualification be terminated but permit registration for an alternative academic qualification;
  • determine that the student's course be terminated and that the student be required to withdraw from the University.

6. Appeals

If a student wishes to appeal against the judgement of the Fitness to Practise Panel they may do so through, and in accordance with, Appendix V of the University Regulations on Student Discipline in relation to Non-Academic Matters.


Last updated March 2011
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Last Updated: 28/11/2012