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Mid Staffs suspends worker over taped dummy incident

Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has suspended a member of staff after a dummy was found taped onto a baby’s face.

The revelation represents fresh trouble for the trust, ahead of the imminent publication of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry report and question marks over its financial sustainability raised by the regulator Monitor earlier this week.

In a statement, Colin Ovington, the trust’s director of nursing and midwifery, said: “Fortunately, the baby was unharmed.  The incident is under investigation by the police and so we are unable to give any more information at the moment. 

“A member of staff has been suspended pending the outcome of the Police investigation and the Trust’s investigation under our disciplinary policy.”

He added: “We have a zero tolerance approach to poor patient care and we take immediate, appropriate action as soon as we know about any potential serious incidents which happen in our hospitals.”

In a statement, Staffordshire Police said: “Officers from our Protecting Vulnerable People Department are at the very early stages of investigating a complaint concerning the treatment of a baby boy by a member of staff at Stafford Hospital earlier this month.

“The baby boy, who was four months old at the time, was not harmed as a result. We are liaising closely with his family and the NHS Trust concerning the matter.”

Robert Francis QC has revealed his public inquiry report will be published on 6 February.

Do you want to keep up to date with the latest from the Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust? Visit our tailored Francis Report channel with the latest rolling news and analysis

Readers' comments (32)

  • michael stone

    You honestly wouldn't expect this type of story - even if somehow it has been 'scrambled' - to emerge from somewhere under as much existing scrutiny as Mid Staffs, would you ?!

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  • you wouldn't expect in anywhere in a hospital or involving registered nurses, would you?

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  • tinkerbell

    Argghhhh! Hopefully staff at Mid staffs now feel safe to report their moron colleagues.

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  • it is hc professionals who should undergo regular mental health tests rather than their patients of a certain age!

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  • Appalling, as a RSCN I am shocked and saddened to read this.

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  • Appalling. Thank goodness they have Colin in charge everyone needs to be very clear he will not stand for this I know I have worked with him. Staff should be empowered to deal with this disgraceful type of behaviour in any trust not just Mid Staffs. Sadly until we get our recruitment right & staff are confident to challenge there will always be someone somewhere who thinks the 'rules' of compassion & caring does not apply to them.

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 25-Jan-2013 6:01 pm

    I've just read something about this in the DT - I'm fairly sure a Mid Staffs nurse said 'we are proud that we now take action and immediately report this sort of thing' (rather misses the obvious point that this particular incident presumably should never have occurred).

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  • tinkerbell

    (rather misses the obvious point that this particular incident presumably should never have occurred).
    DH Agent - as if ! | 26-Jan-2013 10:48 am

    Yes but these things and worse do happen and are happening aren't they, which is the whole point.

    To work in an environment where one feels safe to report their concerns of bad practice, bad culture, is in the words of Neil Armstrong

    'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind'.

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  • tinkerbell

    NMC suspends nurse after meningitis baby death error - NT article
    - makes me wonder what you have to do to get 'struck off'. When you display a total contempt for another humans suffering you only get suspended.

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  • if you murder somebody intentionally you only get a few years in prison

    if you kill or badly injure people on the road because you were careless or chatting on your mobile you hardly get punished at all

    what about the poor woman who stopped to help at an accident. two of the injured asked if they could wait in her car for the ambulance. when she turned round she saw the fire brigade had cut the roof off her Audi to get the two wounded out as they were frightened to move them in case they had spinal injuries - no question of letting them get out the way they got in! Their insurances refused to pay for the women to replace her car!

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  • “If you get the people right, the rest will follow”

    McDonalds UK, Investors in People Gold

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  • Anonymous | 26-Jan-2013 12:31 pm

    Yeah, but their food is sh*te!

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  • michael stone

    To work in an environment where one feels safe to report their concerns of bad practice, bad culture, is in the words of Neil Armstrong

    'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind'.

    Quite, Tink - that is a huge part of this problem ! As we both know, as indeed do many others.

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  • I feel sorry for those at Stafford Hospital who do go in and do their jobs properly in difficult circumstances only to have complete idiots let the side down. That Hospital is struggling to repair it's dreadful reputation and the last thing they need is this kind of incident. Lets hope whoever did this to that baby gets the sack, they must not be allowed to carry on working there. This Hospital has to be seen to take tough action.

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  • It is strange how so many, mainly anonymous, nursing staff have condemed the nurse concerned without any information except what was available in the national press. We know nothing about her / his experience or intention. Yes I agree it was very bad practice , a foolish and seeminly cruel thing to do. However maybe the nurse had given the baby its dummy several times and each time it had fallen out as is probable in a four month old. The child was without a parent present so had no one to comfort him. Perhaps the nurse used the tape to stop the dummy slipping out - to comfort the child. Perhaps he or she is not the most evil incarnation as one would think if one reads the press. Perhaps he or she was just trying to do his or her best but without adequate supervision, training or experience. Just a thought.....

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  • Carol Ellison | 26-Jan-2013 8:45 pm

    rather a strange comment since to date there are nine comments with a user name, and six anonymous comments and not single one of this latter group have condemned the nurse despite such a shocking report whether correct or not! If it is inaccurate then the journalists are at fault.

    is this another bash against anonymous commentators?

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  • Carol Ellison

    SEE ? I USE A NAME !

    I have read some pretty weird post on NT !

    But never before have I seen someone attempt to justify abuse, especially of a child !

    This child is reported to have been suffering from bronchiolitis --- having consulted my nurses dictionary I am fairly confident that this big word means the baby had problems breathing !

    Obstructing the babies airway by taping a dummy in the child's mouth could have had a fatal outcome.

    DO YOU UNDERSTAND Ms Ellison?

    Ms Ellison ---It is comments such as the one you posted which justify the Daily Mails campaign against Nursing -

    Sadly I begin to believe more of what the Mail print.

    Time for those professionals who believe that taping dummies to babies mouths is unacceptable (as is all forms of patient abuse) to root out those who say it is OK or who attempt to excuse such practise.

    These people have no right to call themselves nurses

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  • Carol Ellison

    What professional intelligent Nurse would truly think it was a good idea to tape a dummy in a baby's mouth??!!!

    I don't care how many times that dummy fell out, and i don't care if the subsequent crying annoyed the nurses no end, what they needed to do was comfort the poor mite not gag him/ her!

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  • Was it a nurse? It doesn't actually state it was, just says a member of staff...

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  • Anonymous | 27-Jan-2013 12:16 pm

    I have just been Googling to see if NHS publish their own newspaper but find no such publication. I find this surprising for a national organisation of this size and purpose considering many of the hospitals employ a PR team. I would have thought they should publish news articles to report on their activities to the public and to avoid much of the inaccurate reporting and speculation in the media.

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