01482 778 463
Client Focussed
No Win No Fee
Specialist Legal Teams
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Nursing and Midwifery Council’s failure to act on concerns over midwives was a complete dereliction of role to protect public

Nursing and Midwifery Council’s failure to act on concerns over midwives was a complete dereliction of role to protect public

Baby handles on the mother's palm


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) describes its role on its own website as being a body which ‘exists to protect the public’.

It says it has ‘clear and transparent processes to investigate nurses and midwives who fall short of standards’, with a ‘mission statement’ claiming it will ‘take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise’.

Today, those words sadly ring ever so hollow following a Professional Standards Authority (PSA) review which said its failings in investigating concerns at Furness General Hospital led to ‘tragic deaths of babies and mothers which should never have happened.’

Failures at the hospital were linked to at least 12 deaths of mothers and babies at between 2004 and 2012, and now a ‘lessons learned’ report has revealed the how the NMC  failed to act on police information for almost two years in relation to concerns about midwifes.

Poor record keeping, mishandling of bereaved families and lengthy and delayed investigations were highlighted as reasons for midwives being allowed to continue in their roles for many years before being suspended or struck off the regulator’s register.

The report reveals it took more than eight years between the first complaint being received by the NMC and the final fitness to practise hearing for one of the midwives involved.

Of four cases where the NMC found concerns about the midwives’ fitness to practise to be proven, one took 11 years after concerns were first raised for the midwife to be struck off.

A second was struck off five years after she had retired, and a third was suspended for nine months and a fourth was struck off also having retired.

The report said further avoidable deaths occurred while the NMC were considering the complaints.

Shocking lack of urgent action led to a continuing pattern of errors costing lives

Perhaps the most shocking revelation is the fact that the NMC took almost two years to act on information which had been given to it by Cumbria Police, which had raised concerns around ‘reports of the same midwives who were still practising at the hospital.’

The report concludes the length of time taken to deal with the cases was “an obvious concern” leading to the NMC apologising and admitting its handling of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust cases was “unacceptable”.

The matter has led to chief executive Jackie Smith quitting her role also, but it is all sadly too little, too late.

The failure of the watchdog to act at the appropriate time led to a continuing pattern of fundamental errors by midwives costing lives.

Apologies and talk of lessons learned will offer little comfort to those who lost loved ones, including James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died after midwives missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection.

It has been revealed the NMC monitored his online activity as he was seen as ‘hostile’ towards it, also setting up ‘Google alerts’ on him and spending £240,000 on lawyers in order to withhold information from him.

Such actions could hardly be any further away from its own pledge of protecting the public and its ‘values’ – again detailed on its website – of believing people matter, being open and honest and acting with integrity.

Mrs Smith’s last words before resigning were that the NMC was now a ‘very different organisation’ having made ‘significant changes since 2014’.

That is certainly to be hoped so, as over this lengthy time period where lives were being lost and avoidable tragedies which could have been prevented continued to happen, the watchdog quite clearly failed to fulfil its primary role.

This must now act as a warning to other watchdogs across all areas of the health sector about the need to act quickly, strongly, decisively and transparently when there are any concerns over any matter which could impact on patient safety.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Jodi Newton

Senior Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

jxn@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request A Callback

I am an existing client.










Or call us FREE on:

01482 778 463


trust pilottrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot star

The data you submit will only be used by Hudgell Solicitors in accordance with our privacy policy.
See full privacy policy.

Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Efficient

"Quick, efficient service provided by Jayne Woodock. Would definitely contact Hudgell Solicitors again in the… "

Kerry

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Thank you

"I have never had to go down the route of claiming for anything like this… "

Zoe

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

No problems from start to finish for my…

"No problems from start to finish for my claim.Kept updated regularly and a good outcome… "

r3monkey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent

"Very professional,efficient service,informative and friendly service. I would highly recommend Hudgell solicitors."

Helen

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Good experience

"Good experience"

Margaret Elizabeth

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent

"Friendly, helpful and professional."

M J J

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I would recommend this firm of…solicitor to anyone

"I would recommend this firm of solicitor to anyone I have had a 5 star… "

Jimmy Mc

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and thorough

"Very helpful and thorough. The team kept me updated throughout. Thank you"

Esme

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors.

"Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors. They were professional, pleasant informative and helpful and got a result… "

Vic.

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Case still ongoing

"Case still ongoing, excellent communication between myself and solicitor.. 🤞🏻 for good outcome"

Quantity

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent and fast

"Excellent and fast. I won’t go anywhere else from now on"

Aimee

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful

"Listened too, great advice and feel rejuvenated by their response. Really helpful feedback and will… "

Mr Procter

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great Service

"Hudgell Solicitors dealt with my case very quickly and effectively. The contact and communication was… "

Tracy

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Fantastic service

"Fantastic service, on the ball with everything and good outcome"

Hayley coleman

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very professional

"Very professional, took all the stress off my hands and very pleasant to deal with.… "

Steve

Rated 8.5 out of 10 based on 494 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU
DX 437 Chancery Lane
SRA No. 607141

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU
DX 11923 Hull
SRA no. 521372

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU
DX 744770 Leeds 19
SRA No. 544561

VIEW DETAILS

Manchester

1 St Peter’s Square
Third Floor
Manchester
M2 3AE
SRA No. 655049

VIEW DETAILS

© 2019 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90