Fitness for Professional Practice

Fitness for Professional (FTP) Practice Guide

This process is in place if you are judged unfit for a profession arising from academic, behavioural or health reasons to ensure that you are suited to your career of choice.  The following information gives you an overview of the policy and process - don't hesitate to get in touch using our Contact Form for further advice and support. 

It is solely in existence to protect the interest of the public by safeguarding patient/client safeguarding as well as your interests by ensuring you do not proceed into a career for which you may not be suited or for which a regulatory body may not register you.

You may be considered as unfit for practice on the grounds of:

1.       Physical or mental health reasons;

2.       Criminal or other serious misconduct;

3.       Unprofessional conduct or action;

4.       Academic unsuitability for the demands of the professional training.

Precautionary Suspension

The Dean of Faculty may choose to suspend you pending a fuller investigation, particularly if you have displayed inappropriate behaviour while on clinical placement or when about to go on clinical placement. If this is the case The Dean will prepare a report on the case, normally within 3 working days and then make this report available to the FTP panel. During this time, you will still be allowed access to the University and it’s supporting structures within Student Support and UUSU Advice Bureau.


Within 5 working days of receiving the disclosure (reasons for FTP) The Dean will appoint a Panel consisting of:

a)       The Dean (Or his/her nominee) who normally Chairs the Panel;

b)      The Head of the relevant School;

c)       A member of academic staff from the same professional discipline as you;

d)      A member of academic staff not from the same professional discipline and to whom you are not known;

e)      A registered professional practitioner from the professional area concerned.

The panel will meet within 21 working days.


You will receive 10 working days’ notice of the meeting. This notice will include:

1.       A brief statement of the allegations being brought against you;

2.       Details of any precautionary suspension and limitations on studies or placement experience during the investigation;

3.       Information on right of support at the Panel meeting by UUSU

The Panel Meeting

The Dean may ask academic or clinical staff for written comments on your academic standing, conduct or health and explanations as to why there is cause for concern. The Panel are also allowed to interview relevant individuals to establish the facts of the case, which includes asking you questions relating to the disclosures.


The Panel has several options available to them when considering the outcome of their investigations and following your attendance at the Panel meeting. These include:

1.       No action;

2.       You may be referred to Occupational Health, which may result in a period of absence;

3.       Recommend to the Faculty Board that you discontinue your studies on the course with(out) possibility to transfer to another course;

4.       If you are at an appropriate stage of your studies, you may be offered an alternative award which does not lead to a professional qualification;

5.       You may be referred on to the University Disciplinary Committee;

6.       Other action as deemed appropriate to the situation.

Discontinuation of Studies

As with any outcome, if the outcome of The Panel is that you are requested to discontinue from your studies, you will be informed in writing within 10 working days with the reasons for this. The Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) will be appraised and feedback will be provided to the complainants and the findings entered on to your file.


An appeal will only be considered on the following grounds:

1.       That new evidence is made available that was not previously seen;

2.       That there has been a procedural irregularity;

3.       That the decision of the Panel was inappropriate or too severe.

An appeal should be made through the PVC (Teaching and Learning) within 10 working days of receiving the Panel’s decision. They will subsequently set up an Appeal Board.

This Board consists of:

a)       PVC (Teaching and Learning), Chair;

b)      The Dean of another Faculty;

c)        A member of the professional body concerned but who was not involved in the consideration of the case throughout.

The appeal will be considered by the Board within 28 working days of it being lodged and you will be invited to attend the Appeal Board meeting, with support and representation from UUSU Advice Bureau.

The Board will consider statements and information provided by the previous FTP Panel as well as any new evidence available. The Board will make one of the following directions:

1.       Set the original decision aside;

2.       Vary the original decision or;

3.       Confirm the original Panel decision.

The outcome of the Appeals Board decision will be communicated to you within 10 working days of the meeting.

There is no mechanism to appeal the decision of the Appeal Board, however further support is available to you from UUSU Advice Bureau.

Ulster University SU

Ulster University Student's Union was established in 1984 and is a membership-led organisation which represents over 26,000 full and part-time Ulster students. Company Number NI646426 (Registered in Northern Ireland).

Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC107053.


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