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Publication policy: Nurses Act, 1985

This is the publication policy following fitness to practise inquiries held pursuant to Part V of the Nurses Act, 1985. This policy was approved by the Board on the 28 April 2015.

1. Relevant legislation.

Part V, Nurses Act, 1985.

2. Legal basis for publication of ‘findings and decisions’ following Fitness to Practise Inquiries.

2.1 Under Section 38(5) of the Nurses Act, 1985 publication is permissible in the following circumstances –

“The findings of the Fitness to Practise Committee on any matter referred to it and the decision of the Board on any report made to it by the Fitness to Practise Committee shall not be made public without the consent of the person who has been the subject of the inquiry before the Fitness to Practise Committee unless such person has been found as a result of such inquiry, to be:

(a) Guilty of professional misconduct.

(b) Unfit to engage in the practice of nursing because of physical or mental disability”.

 
2.2 Section 46 of the Nurses Act, 1985 mandates notification in the following circumstances –
 
“The Board shall notify the Minister, and, in the case of a person the name of whose employer is known to the Board, such employer, on the occasion of:
 
(a) the erasure of the name of a person from the register;
 
(b) the restoration of the name of a person to the register;
 
(c) the suspension of the name of a person from the register;
 
(d) the termination of a period of suspension from the register;

or

(e) the attachment of conditions to the retention of the name of a person on the register;
 
(f) the erasure, restoration, suspension, termination of suspension or attachment of conditions, as the case may be.”

3. Publication of findings of the Fitness to Practise Committee and decisions of the Board on any report made to it by the Fitness to Practise Committee.

3.1 In all cases where a nurse has been found, as a result of a Fitness to Practise Inquiry, to be:

(a)          guilty of professional misconduct.
 
(b)          unfit to engage in the practice of nursing by reason of physical or mental disability.
 
Publication of the findings of the Fitness to Practise Committee and the decision of the Board will occur. Publication will be made to the following:
 
(a) The complainant / applicant.

(b) The Minister for Health.

(c) The Chief Executive Officer / Director General of the Health Service Executive.

(d) The employer, if known.

(e) Regulatory authorities in any country / jurisdiction where the person is known to hold or have held registration.

(f) Regulatory authorities in any country / jurisdiction where the person is known to currently reside, even if they are not known to hold registration in that country / jurisdiction.

(g) Any person or organisation which the Board or Chief Executive Officer (or designate) deems it, in the circumstances of a specific Inquiry, appropriate to inform.

(h) Any person or organisation that makes an inquiry in relation to the matter.

 
3.2 In all but the most exceptional cases, findings and decisions will also be published in the following:

(a) The NMBI e-Zine.

(b) The NMBI website. The publication will remain on the website for a period of three years or in cases where the sanction of attachment of Conditions applies, for three years after the Conditions have been removed.
 
Where a decision not to publish is taken by the Board, the rationale for this decision will be documented in the minutes of the relevant Board meeting.
 
3.3 In cases of significant public interest, the Board or Chief Executive Officer (or designate) may also publish the findings and decisions by means of a Press Statement.

4. Findings and Decisions.

The findings of the Fitness to Practise Committee on any matter referred to it and the decision of the Board on any report made to it by the Fitness to Practise Committee.

The following information will be included in any publication:
 
(a) Each allegation where the nurse or midwife has been found, as a result of the Inquiry, to be:
 
                                (i) guilty of professional misconduct, and / or;
 
                                (ii) unfit to engage in the practice of nursing (and / or midwifery) because of                                                                              physical or mental disability.
 
These allegations will be redacted, where appropriate, to protect the identity of other persons and institutions.
 
(b) The overall decision, i.e., that the nurse or midwife has been found guilty of professional misconduct and / or unfit to engage in the practice of nursing (and/or midwifery) because of physical or mental disability.
 
(c) The decision of the Board in relation to sanction, i.e.
 
(i)            Erasure.
(ii)           Suspension.
(iii)          The imposition of conditions.
(iv)          Advise.
(v)           Admonish.
(vi)          Censure.

5. Allegations not proven.

5.1 In circumstances where a person who has been the subject of an Inquiry before the Fitness to Practise Committee is:
 
(i) found not guilty of professional misconduct, and/or;
 
(ii) found not to be unfit to engage in the practice of nursing (and / or midwifery) because of physical                          or mental disability.
 
The consent of the individual who was the subject of the Inquiry must be sought and obtained, in writing, by the Board prior to any publication. The Board will always seek consent to inform the complainant / applicant of the outcome of the Inquiry.
 


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