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Mid Staffs A&E sisters struck off by NMC

Two former A&E nurses who altered patient discharge times to meet waiting time targets at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust have been struck off the nursing register.

A fitness to practise panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled on Thursday that the actions and behaviour of Sharon Turner and Tracy White towards other staff and patients at the trust amounted to misconduct and was so serious they should no longer be allowed to work as nurses.

Both were working as sisters in Stafford hospital’s A&E department during the time “hundreds” of patients suffered appalling care.

They were the subject of a complaint by whistleblower Helene Donnelly who told the public inquiry into the Mid Staffs scandal that she “regularly” saw patients dying “without dignity or respect”.

Despite her complaint, managers at the time did a deal with the local Royal College of Nursing representative to stop the investigation and both sisters were re-appointed to their roles.

Earlier this week the NMC panel found they were guilty of providing poor care, bullying fellow staff and being dishonest in the management of the department.

Tracey White still works at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust after being promoted to the role of a clinical site manager. The trust said this afternoon it would take time to consider the NMC’s decision.

Sharon Turner, who left the trust in 2009, used foul language about patients and threatened to make her colleague’s life “hell”, the hearing heard.

She spoke about patients and staff in an “inappropriate manner” and on one occasion she said that she didn’t give a “flying f***” about patients.”

Ms Turner also said “they can f****** wait” and “they want to get real”, or words to that effect, the NMC panel found, as well as inaccurately recording patient discharge times and instructing staff to transfer patients to wards with “soiled sheets”.

In October 2007 she actively encouraged fellow nurses to “lie about it”, when she discovered the trust was breaching the four hour treatment time target in A&E.

She also made racial comments about junior doctors, calling them “suicide bombers” or “Osama’s mate”.

With respect to one male nurse, she said she “would make his life hell and get rid of him in six months” and “would drive him to drink and he would be out of here”.

When he was admitted to hospital after taking an overdose, she said words to the effect of: “He should have taken a few more pills and done the job properly”, the NMC panel found.

Ms Turner also said something along the lines of: “I am going to have her if it’s the last thing I do” about another nurse, the panel heard.

Meanwhile, Ms White refused to help a senior nurse undress an elderly patient, who she called a “naughty little monkey” for refusing to take drugs to treat constipation.

The panel also heard that, in relation to a patient who had attended A&E following a termination of their pregnancy, Ms White said words to the effect of: “She can wait, if you can do that to your baby.”

Between July 2000 and July 2010 she is also accused of inaccurately recording patient discharge times from A&E and ordering colleagues to follow her example, so it would appear the department was meeting waiting time targets.

The NMC panel also ruled she ordered staff to move patients to different parts of the hospital before they had been properly assessed with soiled sheets.


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Readers' comments (58)

  • Good. Now, get after the managers, senior staff, etc who facilitated the reign of these thugs.

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  • Not forgetting, the RCN's role in all of this.

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  • What a nasty pair they are; why did they ever bother to be nurses if they dislike patients so much. The one that is a clinical site manager now should be sacked.

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  • It is good to see someone held to account for this tragedy. Now it needs to continue up into management & across to the politicians.

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  • When are Nicholson, Bower, Brisby and Yeats, the major architects of the disaster at MidStaffs, going to be "struck off" ?

    Whilst in no way do I support these two "nurses" they are only "little fish"

    The sharks have escaped with big pay outs and large pension pots !

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  • I hope this action makes all nurses think about their attitude and behaviours.

    If they have forgotten how to care then - get out and leave it to those who do care.

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  • About time!!

    Now how about clipping the top branches !

    It is a disgrace how many cover ups are in effect in the UK!

    There are teachers in schools who swear at students and Im talking about primary schools!!

    Lets wipe everything clean!

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  • Despite her complaint, managers at the time did a deal with the local Royal College of Nursing representative to stop the investigation and both sisters were re-appointed to their roles.????????????

    Are you kidding me ????

    They should be next in line!!

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  • Good result to a shameful episode,This also highlights the difficulties that 'whistleblowers' face in an environment that should be sympathetic, but had long become hugely hostile to decent members of staff.
    How do these bullies get appointments to such senior positions? and last for so long in post.. it can't just be inertia or lack of concern on the part of senior managers or is it that they seriously can't be bothered to investigate concerns when raised.. This problem will never go away until senior nurse managers(and others) take responsibilty for thislack of support for honest and decent members of staff, and the concerns of patients and relatives.

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  • tinkerbell

    people create tyrants by following and colluding with them, glad these bullies are out of what should be the caring profession and hope others will follow them from further up the food chain. There should be no double standards. Hopefully this is the start of a snowball for managers all the way to the top to be brought to account and sorted, so the message goes out loud and clear we will not tolerate this.

    There should be no room in healthcare for cruel, unkind, uncaring staff at any level and no excuses made for such behaviours.

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  • These two - what shall we call them? They are certainly not nurses - had support for their behaviour from their management.

    What happened to the manager who colluded with the RCN to drop the investigation? Why wasn't this brought to the NMC instead of the RCN?

    What worries me is once all the publicity about these two - whatever you call them - has gone, this will all be quietly forgotten. Does the NMC have the power to pursue those in management?

    There will be a lot of lovely, wonderful Nurses who are reading this who have been bullied by these two, who did their very, very best to care for the patients in that environment. They should be rewarded.
    If you are one of these wonderful Nurses, thank you very, very much for coping.
    I appreciate you.

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  • Strange how the general media are so keen to lay into nurses at the drop of a hat, but when the NMC and RCN show their teeth to help clean up nursing, it doesn't make headlines. Credit where credit is due. And yes, now get after the rest of the ones who are spreading their poison at Mid Staffs, and everywhere else!

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  • What a vile pair,they should now be prosecuted for their vile racist behavior. In all my 30 years of nursing i am happy to say i have never come across such vile behaviour. Most nurses are trying to give the best care they can under such stressful circumstances. Lets hope these 2 thugs get a taste of their own medicine,when admitted as patients themselves,although thankfully no nurses would not act like them!!

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  • I am sorry the NMC and the RCN are part of the problem for acting late and not protecting staff and the public. Many staff were bullied and the reports are excellent examples of horizontal warfare which erupts in the absence of good management with casualties on the shop floor. Sad day for nursing but unfortunately I have had similar comments as a Clinician and now as educator. There is a lot that is wrong with the culture of Healthcare and the NHS.
    We should object the deals that protect the powerful and fail to protect the weak and vulnerable. There are examples of racism, ageism, harassment and bullying all unacceptable in organisational documents. Worse the whistle-blowers are still attacked for being the weak links for doing the right thing in telling the truth. What does this say for all of in our collective silence and in our failure to be the patients advocates as in NMC documents? The solution is a root and branch job. Get rid of all those who were involved no matter how long it takes. Otherwise the future of nursing is under threat. Let us hope this is the start of healing and not just a creation of scapegoats if it stops at these two.

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  • These two despicable people should be prosecuted for what they did; perhaps they could be cut some kind of deal to bring their collaborators down with them.

    Sadly though, working in A&E can damage good people. There needs to be research into how to give good A&E/ED care whilst maintaining ones humanity. I got out after more than thirteen years of it and am currently working in the best job in my thirty-seven year career.

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  • As usual a lot is said about the individuals (which is right as their behaviour is appalling) and the managers (my experience of like appointing like in the food chain) but the policy/law makers must also be brought to account. The culture of targets, numbers, stats and bonuses(at the top) is ultimately to blame and leads to this uncaring attitude where caring nurses are punished and those that don't care are rewarded and given promotion.

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  • Sadly there are more like this.

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  • A&E staff throughout the country shudder, weird they got struck off for falsifying waiting times( which happens all over the country BTW ) and not being a pair abusive twunts.

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  • These nurses could not have survived and actually prospered in their roles unless they were supported by those above them in the food-chain. As long as they supplied acceptable statistics - they were safe, regardless of how accurate these stats were or achieved and how many people were sacrificed in their attainment.

    A&E is now a 'tick box' environment and as long as you comply with the latest instruction those in charge will be happy to ignore everything else and for as long as possible.

    These nurses were (eventually) caught....this is their biggest crime and whilst we watch their professional execution .....others have made their escape.

    Any doctors 'struck off' in this debacle?

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  • "The culture of targets, numbers, stats and bonuses(at the top) is ultimately to blame and leads to this uncaring attitude where caring nurses are punished and those that don't care are rewarded and given promotion."

    this comes from the general management model which works well outside healthcare in the financial world, in manufacturing and retailing, but there is absolutely no place for it in the compassionate and humanitarian care of human beings. This must have been known at the outset when it was first introduced in the mid-1980s!

    I heard all this same old management speak about harsh and punitive managers forcing workers to meet targets with serious consequences if they failed on the TV last night on a report from the US Stock Market - that just about sums up the total unsuitability of this system when applied to the NHS where the needs could not be more different than on the financial markets!

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