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Former Mid Staffs nursing director struck off

A former director of nursing at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been struck off the nursing register after reaching a legal agreement.

Janice Harry, who is now retired, worked at the scandal hit trust between 1998 and 2006, when many of the high profile care failings there were judged to have occurred.

The announcement on Tuesday evening regarding her registration came just hours before an appeal of her case was due to be heard at the High Court today.

The Professional Standards Authority, which oversees the Nursing and Midwifery Council and other professional regulators, lodged an appeal at the High Court in December.

Its intervention came after an NMC conduct and competence committee decided in November to only issue Ms Harry with a five-year caution.

This was despite the panel finding her actions while director and chief nurse responsible for nursing at Mid Staffordshire had endangered patients, and that she had shown no insight into her failings.

The NMC agreed that the decision made by its panel was “unduly lenient” and the PSA’s appeal was allowed.

Ms Harry this week consented to be removed from the NMC’s register.

NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: “We are pleased to confirm a legal agreement has been reached between the NMC, Professional

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith

Standards Authority and Janice Harry, which will lead to her being struck off the nursing register.”

“We had previously raised concerns about the sanction imposed by an independent panel in November 2013, and took immediate steps to refer it to the PSA for review,” she said.

“The case raised important issues about the responsibility of nurses who hold senior management positions and their duty to ensure the protection of the public,” she added.

PSA chief executive Harry Cayton said: “This is the right outcome. Senior clinicians should be held to account when there are serious failings in patient

Harry Cayton

Harry Cayton

care for which they are responsible.

“The authority will continue to appeal the regulators’ fitness to practise decisions when it considers they are unduly lenient.”

In December, a High Court judge granted a last minute injunction to stop Ms Harry’s registration from lapsing, which would have prevention further disciplinary action being taken against her.

The NMC first heard evidence against Ms Harry in March last year but her case was twice adjourned.

In February 2013, another former director of nursing at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was cleared of any wrong-doing by the NMC.

Helen Moss took on the role at the trust in December 2006 and resigned from her job at the end of 2009. An NMC investigating committee deemed there was “no case to answer”.


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Readers' comments (19)

  • The next question is what has the NMC done about the performance of the panel that delivered the 5 year caution sanction? Are they still reviewing cases or have their services been dispensed with?

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  • Luckily for Ms Harry, she probably doesn`t need to work again, unlike some of the real staff who lost their jobs because of her failings.

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  • Question NMC do you not think you should have intervened earlier and then patients may not have died feels like too little to late... but whats new

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  • The NMC has come under scrutiny again for misjudgement. We pay a registration to practise as nurses and as such should uphold the standards. If the organisation is led by people who seem to condone bad practise and management then what is going on? It has needed the overaching organisation, the PSA to intervene. Sadly, the now CEO, Jackie Smith is precisely the person who had got the fitness to practise into such a bad state during the previous 10 years at the NMC. She was then elevated to the CEO despite the incompetence. Even if Janice Harry is now struck off, as she has now retired presumably she will have an adequate income from her pension as she was a Director of Nursing. What does 'the NMC and Jackie have come to a legal agreement' mean? Can the PSA as governing body over the NMC please review what is going on there? They seem to have acted on this case.

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  • One dealt with.

    Many still remain in post despite their failures!

    There is one near you plotting to reduce nursing numbers and replace RN's with "care assistants" !

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  • Since when did someone consent to being struck-off? This Harry woman has retired and will be sitting pretty on an excellent NHS pension so in reality, she's got-off with allowing the death and suffering of thousands of people entirely Scott free!

    I hope the families of the deceased go after her personally in the courts. This woman should be left destitute for what she's done.

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  • What sort of punishment is being struck off the register after you have retired!! NMC needs striking off! We are paying milllions in yearly fees for decisions like this.

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  • Lip service springs to mind NMC once again lets both nursing and the public down. What are we paying fees for?? because neither the public or the profession is being protected. I am sure our fee's keeps your office nice and warm and supplies of coffee for you to drink in abundance.

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  • I think this is the only right judgement. Some former NHS professionals convicted of serious offences have lost their pensions too.

    Some colleagues suggest it might apply in this case too, otherwise it's Fat City and no more need to work for even the most incompetent and uncaring NHS directors. There are issues of justice here, given the extreme and lasting suffering that resulted in Mid Staffs and some other badly run settings.

    Snag is, NHS pensions are paid based on contributions over a working life. There probably were some earlier jobs at which even the most useless director was deemed competent, so ought we consider depriving such people of lifetime's accrued pension, or just the super high rates for their most senior post?

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  • How did Helen Moss get away with "No case to answer" when the poor care observed by the CQC in 2008 happened on her watch?

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  • How would they ensure her registration didn't lapse once she retired? Surely once she retired she would just stop paying her yearly fee? Do you think she is going to give two hoots about being struck off when she is sat at home enjoying her retirement and fat pension. Anyway you can't blame all what happened at that hospital on one person, get real.

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  • michael stone

    I've not closely followed this one - but at first sight, it looks a lot more like she 'agreed to de-registration' than as if it was any sort of genuine 'striking off'.

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  • Get real? Get real??

    Understand something; you can delegate responsibility but you may NEVER ever delegate responsibility - especially when you are being paid a big fat salary for the privilege.

    It is appropriate that this person should finish her career in professional disgrace. It was sadly and typically inappropriate that the FTP panel failed to recognise this fact.

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  • While I endorse the sentiments about having a position of responsibility and accountability within an organisation and without a doubt this nurse was paid fairly well for the position - why on earth is nobody questioning why it is only nursing staff who are being sanctioned and punished? Was this report only about nursing staff? No. Could you be forgiven for thinking that this report was only about nursing? Yes. When are nurses going to stand and be counted together instead of standing back while other nurses are devoured?

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  • I was under the impression that the NMC can't actually strike anyone off, legally.There was a Scottish case about this not long ago.And the NMC were told they don't have the right to do it.

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  • If the NMC can hold a register which is the only one in the UK which allows nurses to practice legally but do not have the powers to remove those found guilty of malpractice practice and a public danger what exactly is their role?

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  • There must be something fundamentally wrong within the NMC and the rules by which the organisation conducts its affairs. The decision makers are ill-equipped and also grossly under informed. There is no cohesion or consistency. Some Mid Staffs nurses were struck off, others only cautioned, when in truth the punishment did not fit the crime in the latter. Nursing is again a laughing stock as a result. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link!

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  • Anonymous | 31-Mar-2014 1:22 pm

    totally agree. nursing is probably considered a mickey mouse profession by many. are these so-called decision-making tinks even registered nurses, up to date and informed about what is going on?

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  • These are examples of inverted injustice. Consider the many more examples of injustices where registrants have been variously punished for both relatively and completely trivial offenses. Most serious of course are those cases where registrants have been severely punished for essentially complaining on behalf of competence-lacking patient victims even though conducted in accordance with NMC "Raising Concerns" guidelines. It does happen. Such punishment may include hyper-scrutiny practice conditions having already been subject to months and months and months of similar "interim" practice conditions via repeated London visit "interim" hearings and which are then further extended following the substantive hearing and which could continue indefinitely according to the whim of the NMC. Imagine practicing under virtually permanent NMC close scrutiny whilst your practice status is advertised for all to see and having to explain the matter to any prospective employer..should you ever get an interview given the commonly required application form declaration of "ever having been the subject of an NMC fitness to practice investigation" which is unlikely. Being able to re-open old cases enables the NMC to additionally re-apply punishment should the innocent registrant ever be maliciously accused by miscreants aware of their vulnerability.

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