Proposed changes to the composition of Practice Committee panels

About the proposal

In October 2010 a number of changes to the composition of Practice Committee panels were proposed.

The proposals were designed to change the way medical opinion is provided to panels, removing the requirement for a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) to be part of a panel, and to clarify the interpretation of “due regard”. The aim of the proposed changes was to reinforce the impartiality of panels ensuring decision making is more transparent, ultimately enhancing public protection.

All of the NMC’s Fitness to Practise (FtP) panellists and members of the NMC FtP Users Group were invited to give their views on the proposed changes.

The findings

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal to remove the requirement for a RMP to be part of a panel. A similar number of respondents agreed that clarifying our approach to “due regard” would help to make panels more impartial. Just under half of respondents felt that introducing the policy would enhance public protection.

To see the consultation questions and the report of the consultation [PDF]


At their meeting in March 2011 Council considered the report of the consultation and agreed:

  • that RMP and ‘due regard’ panellists should no longer be required for panels
  • that Practice Committee panels should be made up of at least three members, one of whom must be a registrant registered in the same part of the register as the respondent, and one a non registrant and
  • that the new policy should apply to panels form the date the policy is approved.

The policy has been applicable since 1 April 2011

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