NMC To Be Investigated After Scandal

24 May 2018, 13:03 | Updated: 24 May 2018, 13:08

Morecambe Bay investigation

Failings by the UK nursing regulator will be investigated, after a report into the handling of the maternity scandal at Furness General Hospital.

A parliamentary health committee will look into how the Nursing and Midwifery Council handled the deaths of 11 babies and one mum over a ten year period.
On May 16th a report by the Professional Standards Authority showed how Furness families were systematically failed and obstructed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in matters relating to the deaths of newborn babies and mothers at FGH.
Furness MP John Woodcock said: "The review showed how the NMC covered up and closed ranks to protect its own members rather than treat grieving families with common decency and give them the support they deserved."
He wrote to Health and Social Care Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, drawing the findings of the review to her attention and asking the committee to consider an investigation.
Mr Woodcock wrote: "The report contained many alarming findings, among them the fact that babies’ lives could have been saved if the NMC had acted quickly on police concerns about its members.
"Poor record keeping, mishandling of bereaved families’ inquiries and delayed investigations meant the midwives who were later suspended or struck off the regulator’s register had been allowed to continue practising.
"It is plain that deliberate and organised obstruction by the NMC meant avoidable tragedies continued to happen.
"Shortly before the report’s appalling revelations were made public, the NMC chief executive, Jackie Smith, announced she would be stepping down from her post.
"All the affected constituents who have contacted me thus far feel the NMC’s response has so far been wholly inadequate.
"I fully share that view and was astounded that the organisation refused even to make a spokesperson available when the report was released.
"That suggests the regulator is failing to face up to the gravity of these findings and may well not be fit to enact the culture change which is so demonstrably needed.
"I feel sure you will appreciate the impact that this report has had on the constituents of our close-knit community, some of whom are related to the victims and their families.
"I suspect you will also share my fear that this body my still be failing in its statutory duty to the public and continuing to let down the proud and vital profession it is charged with regulating.
"I very much hope that this is an issue into which the committee will chose to investigate in more detail and would be grateful if you were able to let me know your thoughts."
Dr Wollaston has today confirmed that an evidence session of the committee will shortly be held to discuss the PSA’s findings. The session is likely to take place in late June.
Mr Woodcock said: "I am delighted to receive a swift and positive response from Dr Wollaston after asking the health committee to look into this.
"The commitment to hold an evidence session looking into the PSA findings on the NMC will be a vital opportunity for all to learn from the regulator’s failings and important for local families who have suffered immeasurably and want to see a genuine culture change right across the country."