Section Menu

Professional Standards Committee

Professional Standards Committees (PSCs) are established by the Council for the purposes of the National Law (NSW). PSCs form a part of the disciplinary pathway for managing notifications (complaints). Matters referred to a PSC when the Council and the Health Care Complaints Commission consider that prosecution of a complaint is warranted but that the subject matter is not of a level or seriousness that may lead to the deregistration or the suspension of the nurse or midwife.  A Committee takes an inquisitorial, rather than an adversarial approach.

A PSC does not have the power to suspend a nurse or midwife or to order the removal of their name from the Register. Should a PSC reach the opinion that the matter is one which could warrant suspension or deregistration it must terminate the hearing immediately and refer the matter to the Tribunal for a complete re-hearing. If the PSC is satisfied that the nurse or midwife does not have sufficient mental or physical capacity to practise his or her profession it may recommend to the Tribunal that the nurse or midwife's registration be suspended for a specified period or cancelled. 

The PSC consists of four persons appointed by the Council. This includes:

  • if the matter concerns a nurse, two of the four persons must be a nurse (including one from the same division, if applicable)
  • if the matter concerns a midwife, two of the four persons must be a midwife
  • one person who is an Australian lawyer and not a registered health practitioner (who is appointed by the Council as the chairperson of the PSC)
  • one person who is not a registered health practitioner.

Although the Council is responsible for appointing members to a PSC, a PSC is a separately constituted body and acts independently of the Council. The Council is bound by a PSC decision.

A PSC may do any one or more of the following in relation to a nurse or midwife:

  • caution or reprimand the nurse or midwife 
  • direct that conditions relating to the nurse or midwife's practise of his or her profession be imposed on his or her registration
  • order the practitioner to seek and undergo medical or psychiatric treatment or counselling
  • order the practitioner to complete an educational course specified by a PSC
  • order that the nurse or midwife report on his or her practise as required
  • order the practitioner to seek and take advice in relation to the management of his or her practice

Where the PSC finds the nurse or midwife to have been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and is satisfied that there is no other order or combination of orders that it is appropriate in the public interest, a PSC may impose a fine of no more than $5,500.

PSC hearings are generally open to the public and their decisions are published. More about how a PSC hearing proceeds will be published soon on a new section of this website.