Wendy Hewitt appeared at a Substantive Hearing before a Fitness to Practice Committee on behalf of a nurse who faced a number of allegations that she had dishonestly secured secondary employment without the knowledge of her employer; and that she had dishonestly worked there whilst on sick leave.
As a consequence of the allegations, the nurse had been dismissed from the Trust where she had worked for 12 years, and the NMC sought her suspension from the register for a period of 12 months.
In cross-examination, Wendy was deeply critical of the two witnesses who had conducted the Trust’s investigation which led to the nurse’s dismissal. The Panel endorsed those criticisms in its written determination. The Panel found that the nurse’s line manager (who had also given evidence to the Trust) was “not credible”, “unreliable” and that “the nature and extent of [her] errors were serious and called into question her management skills and credibility”. The Panel also found that the investigator on behalf of the Trust “did not understand her role as an investigating officer in that she did not understand her overriding duty to be fair”; she “did not gather the relevant evidence and did not understand her duty to obtain both supporting and undermining evidence” and that “the investigation was not conducted on an impartial basis”.
At the end of the NMC’s evidence, Wendy submitted that there was no case to answer. The Panel agreed with that submission in respect of the majority of the allegations, and, having heard evidence from the nurse, concluded that the two remaining allegations were not proved by the NMC.
Wendy practices exclusively in professional discipline and regulatory work. Wendy mainly represents regulated individuals in the medical and healthcare professions, and in teaching.
She specialises in what may be broadly characterised as cases concerning fitness to practice and unacceptable professional conduct/conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute. Her clients are frequently doctors, teachers, opticians, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, social workers, practitioner psychologists, audiologists, occupational therapists, paramedics, and students - although this is by no means an exhaustive list.
She advises and represents individuals in Fitness to Practice proceedings (whether involving misconduct, health, conviction/caution or lack of competence or clinical failings), at all stages from interim orders, to substantive/principal hearings and appeal; and at review hearings following an order of suspension.