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NMC clears Mid Staffs former nursing director

A former director of nursing at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been cleared of any wrong-doing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Helen Moss took on the role at the scandal-hit trust in December 2006 and resigned from her job at the end of 2009.

Nursing Times has learnt she has been cleared by an investigating committee at the NMC, which has deemed there was “no case to answer”.

Ms Moss was criticised by families and campaigners for not doing enough to tackle a shortage of nurses at the trust – one of the factors said to have contributed to poor care that led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths.

When she appeared before the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry, Ms Moss told Robert Francis QC that a report on staff shortages showed there were 120 vacancies, or 13% of the workforce. However, this report was not shown to the trust’s board for fear it would put the organisation’s bid for foundation trust status at risk.

In her evidence, Ms Moss said it was difficult to recruit experienced nurses to the trust because it was a small hospital with no specialist services and few opportunities for career development.

As a result, she said most of the nurses recruited were straight out of university and this, combined with a low staff turnover, meant a lack of new ideas coming into the organisation.

She described a “closed culture” at the trust, but did apologise to patients and families who suffered poor care.

Julie Bailey, founder of the campaign group Cure the NHS, which helped epose poor care at the hospital, said she was “devastated” by the NMCs decision.

Readers' comments (21)

  • More evidence that becoming a FT was a significant factor in the Mid Staffs tragedy. FT's - worst thing Labour ever did to the NHS.

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  • So most nurses were straight out of University with 'no new ideas'. Why then are new nurses being touted as Caremakers and guardians of the 6c's?

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  • Why was the report on staff shortages not shown to the Board - I note Ms moss didn't explain that?!! If she was in possession of that report she had a duty to let the board know surely? Did she knowingly collude in not showing it as I have read in the past, I really hope not.

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  • "In her evidence, Ms Moss said it was difficult to recruit experienced nurses to the trust because it was a small hospital with no specialist services and few opportunities for career development".

    Not to mention a useless Nursing Director who contributed to covering chronic staff shortages.

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  • I'd have thought experienced nurses would like to work in a smaller hospital, they have 300 or so beds, Cannock Chase is a centre of excellence and Staffs has CCU etc. what does she mean by having no specialist services? 300 beds is not small - what rubbish. If there were few opportunities for career development why offer jobs to NQ nurses?

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  • Toot! Toot! On the gravy train! Once you are on it's impossible to get off! What have these people got to do before they are drummed out of the profession? Take 2 paracetamol for a headache from the treatment room, and wham-bam thanks for the pin ma'am. Deliberately mislead the Trust Board for 3 years, put the lives of people in that community at real risk, oversee an organisation with 1200 avoidable deaths? Nothing to answer! Back on board the gravy train! Toot!

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  • Key for a nurse director is leadership, innovation, compassion, business head should be last thing on your mind. Patients & staff are priority, better to get sacked for overspend on innovating ways of recruitment, retention & career development than being publicly the face of shame to us good & proud nurses & midwives. Surrounded by other large teaching hospitals could have always made it attractive for nurses by teaming up with them. No excuses & disgrace to my profession. Thank god I retire in a few years I don't want to be part of the 'new NHS' where money & status comes before patients

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  • She described a “closed culture” at the trust, but did apologise to patients and families who suffered poor care.

    Apologies mean nothing but we will be hearing a lot of apologies over the next few days with little feeling behind them

    How on earth this woman was not reprimanded by the NMC beggars belief.

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  • This decision utterly fails to address the question of why Helen Moss failed to act speedily and did not raise her concerns further when her own inquiry and Trust Board delayed things.

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  • michael stone

    Ms Moss told Robert Francis QC that a report on staff shortages showed there were 120 vacancies, or 13% of the workforce. However, this report was not shown to the trust’s board for fear it would put the organisation’s bid for foundation trust status at risk.

    ____________________

    As a potential patient, I'm struggling to see how if it were known that the hospital was seriously understaffed, it can be 'excusable' to not tell the Board: this seems to be simple collusion, of 'not telling the Board something it would be inconvenient to the Board for them to formally be aware of' - ISN'T THAT ATTITUDE, A MAJOR PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!

    How can the NHS meet this general call to be 'more transparent', if its staff don't even talk to each other !?

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  • tinkerbell

    'As a result, she said most of the nurses recruited were straight out of university and this, combined with a low staff turnover, meant a lack of new ideas coming into the organisation'

    Does this make any sense? Newly qualified nurses combined with a low staff turnover?
    What skill mix was there? Surely put some newly qualified with longer qualified more experienced nurses. You don't want a whole ward staffed with newly qualified and if there was a low staff turnover then some of the staff there must have been experienced. I don't get it. Sounds like goobledegook.

    I'm assuming 'low staff turnover' means not many staff left the hospital, otherwise this could be the reason i don't get it.

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  • how did this person manage to meet the clinical prep criteria for registration anyway if she was not in front line nursing?

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  • tinkerbell

    redpaddys12 | 6-Feb-2013 5:05 am

    they were all wearing blind folds remember, how could they possibly see anything.

    The gravy train is now leaving the station. Anyone else saying they 'knew nothing about anything please hop aboard before you get asked an awkward question that you can't answer, in that event just say i 'don't know'. When asked why just repeat 'i don't remember' Your destination is a golden handshake and/or promotion and protected pension'. Choo choo!

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  • tinkerbell

    what lessons have been learned?

    'managers can leave a trust having done an appalling job and get a pay off.

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  • tinkerbell | 6-Feb-2013 11:55 am

    what lessons have been learned?

    'managers can leave a trust having done an appalling job and get a pay off.

    Then be appointed by a management consultancy whose healthcare team won a contract to appraise the viability of Mid Staffs.

    If heads don't roll following this report, it will all have been a waste of time and money and an insult to those who died unnecessarily

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 6-Feb-2013 7:01 pm

    Exactly. It was the bereaved relatives who rallied to have their voices heard. They want justice for the injustice and harm caused to their loved ones who placed their trust in a hospital who put money before lives.

    They have given nursing/healthcare a great opportunity because i hope their great effort in exposing all this sadness will ensure that it will never happen again.

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  • where were the NMC during all this long story of the Staffs? I thought their role and whole purpose was to protect patients against the malpractices of nurses and remove those not up to standard off the register.

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  • Anon 7.09pm
    Is that true about her joining the management consultancy?
    If so, and you are reading this, Ms Moss, I bet you could slide under a snakes belly with a top hat on. Judas. May the fleas of a thousand camels live in your pubic hair.

    This used to be a noble country, now it is no better than some tick-ridden banana republic. Blue Square, McKenzie, who stands to profit from this DELIBERATE act of sabotage? There you go NT 'journalists' uncover that, you may win a Pulitzer.

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  • I retired a short while ago and thank god.

    I am appauled that this woman did not received some admonishment from the NMC, at least, for her non actions...Had it been up to me I would have had her removed from the registrar as unfit to practice.

    She was "Director of Nursing". In my day that is what DNS's did...direct.

    If you dont have the "balls" to do the job girl, then get out of the kitchen. Shame on you.

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  • tinkerbell | 6-Feb-2013 11:55 am

    what lessons have been learned?

    'managers can leave a trust having done an appalling job and get a pay off.

    Then be appointed by a management consultancy whose healthcare team won a contract to appraise the viability of Mid Staffs.

    If heads don't roll following this report, it will all have been a waste of time and money and an insult to those who died unnecessarily

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