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Fitness to Practice
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Fitness to Practise

The Fitness to Practise policy and procedure applies to all students on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes leading to a professional qualification or programmes associated with professional practise. This can include programmes with the Faculty of Health, and trainee teachers. 

https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/uploads/production/document/path/20/20950/UoP_Fitness_to_Practise_policy_21-22_v1.8_Final.pdf

The vast majority of incidents that start this procedure happen whilst students are out in practise.  Some examples that we have attended over the last few years are:

Falsifying paperwork of any kind is a major no no, you need to be trusted that as a registered health care professional you will record information accurately to ensure patient safety.  Therefore falsifying any document whether it be your ORE’s document or a submission for placement expenses will bring into question your integrity. 

Social Media – you should already be aware that no message, group chat, snap chat is private.  It only takes one participant to take offence or for a dispute within the group, for the conversation or post to be reported to the University.  If you do not want to get into this situation then do not use social media to voice your opinions or concerns.   You should also change your facebook privacy settings, so that only your friends can see what you write, this also protects you from unwelcome visitors to your profile as well as allowing you to continue to use social media.  

Problems on placement – these can be issues with the placement or mentor, if you have a problem then before you make a difficult situation worse talk to the placement co-ordinator email your tutor or talk to us.  We have been to many FTP’s that have arisen as a result of unprofessional behaviour, a heated argument for example, that could have been avoided if the student had spoken to staff at an earlier point.   

Drug Errors - Everyone makes mistakes in every occupation, it is how we deal with those mistakes and learn from them that matters.  Be honest and upfront, tell someone immediately that you have made an error and set it straight.  The worst thing you can do is try and cover it up or proportion blame on others.  You may still end up at a FTP but it is much more likely to stop at the first stage if you can show you acted correctly rather than risk the possibility of being withdrawn from the course at a 3rd stage.

What representation can you take?

The University’s policy is very clear that representation at a Fitness to Practise meeting must come from within the University Community, and recommends that this is from the Students’ Union Advice Centre, as we are independent.  We have attended many Fitness to Practise meetings and can help you through the process providing guidance and support where necessary.

So what happens as part of the procedure?

Stage 1 Fitness to Practise Meeting

You will be invited to a meeting with your personal tutor and another academic to discuss an incident that has occurred.  At this meeting they will explain what the accusation or incident is and ask you to provide your account of what happened.  You can take someone with you to the Stage 1 FTP, and we would suggest that the sooner you involve Union representation the better.   At the end of the Stage 1 meeting, minutes will be produced and these will then be forwarded to the Head of School, who will make a decision as to whether or not the concern needs to progress to Stage 2. 

Stage 2a and Stage 2b

A referral to stage 2 could take 2 formats – stage 2a or stage 2b.

Stage 2a is an assessment and evaluation meeting. Prior to the meeting, the investigator will undertake further fact finding, gathering information and documentation relating to the concern or allegation. You will be asked to attend the stage 2a meeting, and given the opportunity to respond to the concerns

Stage 2b meetings are a fitness to practice panel. You should be aware that Stage 2b is the only stage of the fitness to practise process in which a possible outcome could be to withdraw a student from programme or expel them from the university.

Regardless of what stage your FTP ends up at your union representation can support you.  We can comment on any reflective statements you may need to produce, and look at different forms of support you could tap into to help demonstrate your understanding of the incident.  We can tell you what to expect from these high-level University meetings and attend them with you.    

If you have been invited to attend any meeting as part of Fitness to Practise process then we would strongly encourage you to get in contact.

 

Last updated: January 2022