Allegations of misconduct and breaches of discipline can have serious consequences for health care professionals. Serious misconduct could lead to a referral to the respective regulatory governing body, and legal guidance should be considered in these circumstances.

NHS Trusts – Breaches of Discipline & Misconduct Allegations

Preliminary Investigation

When an alleged breach of discipline occurs it will be necessary for the Line-Manager of the person who is alleged to have committed the misconduct to establish whether a potential case exists by carrying out a preliminary investigation.

Next steps

If the allegations are found likely to be substantiated the Line-Manager will:

    • Alert the service manager (or most senior person on duty) to the allegations and ask them to consider whether temporary redeployment or suspension is appropriate (suspension is a last resort);
    • Consider whether a formal investigation is necessary. In most cases a formal investigation will be necessary but may not be in cases where the facts are clearly not in dispute (for example, a timekeeping issue);
    • Draft the allegation to be investigated;
    • Liaise with the HR department in order to appoint investigating officers;
    • Issue a written notice of the allegation(s) informing the employee that there seems to be sufficient evidence to warrant a formal investigation.

If the Disciplinary Officer decides that there is potential substance to the allegation(s) and that they are serious enough to merit disciplinary action, a formal disciplinary meeting must be arranged as soon as practicable by the Disciplinary Officer.

Representation in Professional Discipline Law

The employee has the right to be represented in all formal hearings. The representative can be a member of the Trade Union, a solicitor or a barrister. Representation by a solicitor or a barrister will be subject to a cost.

    • Formal Stage – Disciplinary Hearing
    • Purpose of the hearing
    • Notice period of a Disciplinary Hearing
    • Documentation
    • Disciplinary panel
    • Witnesses
    • Procedure
    • Mitigating Circumstances
    • Notification of Outcome

Allegations do not have to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt as in a court of law, but should be based on a balance of probabilities.

Possible Outcomes During Healthcare Professional Discipline

  1. Allegation is unsubstantiated
  2. Minor misconduct is substantiated
  3. Serious misconduct is substantiated
  4. Gross misconduct is substantiated


  1. First written warning
  2. Final written warning
  3. Dismissal
  4. Redeployment
  5. Summary Dismissal (This is immediate dismissal without payment)
  6. Referral to professional body/disclosure and barring service.

Right of Appeal

Staff have the right to appeal against any formal disciplinary action taken against them and will be informed of this at the disciplinary hearing. The time limit for lodging any appeal is 15 working days from the date of the decision made following the disciplinary meeting.

Grounds of Appeal

The appeal should be based on one or more of the following grounds:

    • The disciplinary policy and procedures were not followed and was not taken into consideration by the panel;
    • Non-compliance with statutory policy, procedure and legal rights;
    • Acts of discrimination, bullying and harassment in the hearing;
    • Disciplinary panel outcome decisions.

If an Appeal Hearing is required then the Trust will endeavour to have an appeal heard with 30 working days of receiving the written appeal.The decision of the Appeal Hearing will be final.

Allegations of misconduct or breach of discipline can be subject to serious sanctions being enforced.  Representation by a legal professional can be arranged during the early stages.

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us via email or by phone.

“The clerking team is responsive, extremely approachable and knowledgeable”

The Legal 500

Get in touch

For further information and enquiries please contact our clerks team.

Healthcare Professional Discipline Barristers

Sam Green KC

Sam Green KC

Joint Head of Chambers

Call: 1998 Silk: 2015

Richard Barraclough KC

Richard Barraclough KC

Call: 1980 Silk: 2003

Simon Myerson KC

Simon Myerson KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2003

James Bourne-Arton

James Bourne-Arton KC

Call: 2001 Silk: 2024

Jeremy Barnett

Jeremy Barnett

Call: 1980

Derek Duffy

Derek Duffy

Call: 1997

Contact Us

Chambers is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, secure car parks and the Courts.

Contact Us

St Pauls Chambers
Park Row House
19-20 Park Row

For out of hours assistance please call the senior clerk on 07854170429.

The switchboard will open from 08:30 until 17:30

Phone: +44 (0)1132 455 866
Email: [email protected]
CJSM: [email protected]

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