Counsel sign up for scheme to aid nurses and midwives
More than 50 advocates are preparing to help nurses and midwives who may be facing the trauma of disciplinary proceedings with no-one at their side.
The group, including several QCs, have signed up for specialist training in the workings of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), aiming to offer representation to those whose livelihoods could be on the line.
A significant number of NMC disciplinary hearings in Scotland feature people who do not have a lawyer and appear for themselves.
“A hearing like this can be incredibly stressful and worrying for someone, and it will be made all the worse if they have to do it alone,” said Angela Grahame, QC, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates.
“Without assistance, they may not know the rules, the procedure or what they are supposed to do. There may be things which can be said to help them, but they may not know how best to present it to the panel or even have the confidence to do so.
“With the scheme we are putting in place, these people do not have to be alone. We have members who are keen to help and this, coupled with their experience and training, will ensure they can provide the best possible representation when it is needed the most.”
Many advocates are prepared to work on a no win, no fee basis - and the Faculty also operates a Free Legal Services Unit which, in qualifying cases, can provide representation at no cost.
“Anyone who thinks we might be able to help them should simply contact us – email@example.com - and we will see what can be done,” added Ms Grahame.