Nurses and Midwives Act 2011
Powers and protections relating to witnesses and evidence.
64.— (1) For the purposes of an inquiry, the Fitness to Practise Committee has all the powers, rights and privileges that are vested in the Court or a judge of the Court on the occasion of an action and that relate to—
(a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses,
(b) examining witnesses on oath or otherwise, and
(c) compelling the production (including discovery) of records.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), a summons issued by the chairperson of the Fitness to Practise Committee or by such other member of that Committee as is authorised by it for the purpose of the inquiry may be substituted for and is the equivalent of any formal process capable of being issued in an action for enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of records.
(3) Subject to any rules in force and to the necessity of observing fair procedures, the Fitness to Practise Committee may receive evidence given—
(a) orally before the committee,
(b) by affidavit, or
(c) as otherwise allowed by those rules, including by means of a live video link, a video recording, a sound recording or any other mode of transmission.
(4) A witness before the Fitness to Practise Committee is entitled to the same immunities and privileges as a witness before the Court.
(5) A person is guilty of an offence if the person—
(a) having been duly summoned to attend before the Fitness to Practise Committee fails without reasonable excuse to attend at the time and place indicated on the summons,
(b) while attending as a witness before the Fitness to Practise Committee refuses to—
(i) take an oath lawfully required by the Committee to be taken,
(ii) produce any record in the person’s power or control that the person is lawfully required by the Committee to produce, or
(iii) answer any question that the person is lawfully required by the Committee to answer,
(c) while attending before the Fitness to Practise Committee does anything that, if the Committee were a court of law having power to punish for contempt, would be contempt of court.
(6) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (5) is liable on summary conviction to a class A fine.
(7) Where a person fails to comply with a summons to attend before the Fitness to Practise Committee or refuses, while attending as a witness before the Fitness to Practise Committee, to do anything referred to in subsection (5)(b) that the person is lawfully required by the Committee to do, the Court, on application by the Board, may—
(a) by order require the person to attend before the Committee or to do the thing that the person refused to do, as the case may be, and
(b) make such interim or interlocutory orders as it considers necessary for that purpose.
(8) Neither an application for an order under subsection (7) nor the making of such an order precludes proceedings being brought for an offence under subsection (5)(a) or (b) in relation to a person on whose failure or refusal the application or order was based.
(9) Where the Fitness to Practise Committee requires the medical records of a patient of any registered nurse or registered midwife to be produced for the purposes of an inquiry conducted by the Committee, the records shall not be made available to the Committee unless—
(a) the patient has consented in writing to the records being made so available, or
(b) the Committee has directed in writing the nurse or midwife, or any other person who has power over or control of the records, to make the records so available.
Power pursuant to subs. (3)(c) exercised (24.07.2014) by Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland Rules Pursuant to the Provisions of Sections 64(3)(c) of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 Regarding the Receiving and Recording of Evidence by the Fitness to Practise Committee (S.I. No. 358 of 2014).
A class A fine means a fine not exceeding €5,000 as provided (4.01.2011) by Fines Act 2010 (8/2010), s. 3, S.I. No. 662 of 2010.