Is lack of integrity a useful concept when dealing with health and social care pre-registration student fitness to practise cases?

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
Health and social care regulators in their guidance to pre-registration students and registrants emphasise the importance of honesty and integrity. While the term honesty is generally understood, the meaning of integrity is less familiar, and for many years, there has been disagreement as to whether there is any difference between “dishonesty” and “lack of integrity.” To explore the possible application of lack of integrity to student behaviour, we present cases that illustrate what might be considered to demonstrate a lack of integrity. As with other allegations, if there is to be a finding of fact then an allegation of lack of integrity and its basis need to be clearly set out in advance of any hearing. If the term lack of integrity is to be useful, guidance from the regulators will need to explain the meaning of the term. If, however, agreement as to the meaning cannot be reached, maybe the term “integrity” should no longer be a standard accompaniment to the term “honesty.”

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