Mid Staffs nurses avoid being struck off after failing to act when patient deteriorated
Two nurses who admitted failing to act when a patient died at Stafford Hospital can remain on the nursing register, a fitness to practise hearing has ruled.
More than 50 cases relating to the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust were originally referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but it found no case to answer in 37 of them.
The conclusion of the two cases last week means six of the 15 referrals where the NMC found there was a case to answer have now been closed. Only one registrant who worked at the West Midlands trust has so far been struck off the register.
Therisia Van der Knapp and Evelyn Agbeko both admitted misconduct in relation to their care of a patient on ward 11 of Stafford Hospital in April 2010. Both were staff nurses at the time but Ms Agbeko was in charge during the night shift when the incident occurred.
Ms Agbeko admitted that at 4am and 6am she had recorded the patient was asleep when she “knew or ought to have known” the patient had died. The NMC panel also found she failed to ensure adequate observations were carried out or ensure that the resuscitation team was called when the patient was found unresponsive.
She has been made subject to a 12-month conditions of practice order, which bans her from taking charge of a shift and requires her to complete training courses in basic life support.
The panel decided not to impose any restrictions on Ms Van der Knapp’s practice due to the level of insight she demonstrated into her actions and that she had no previous blemishes on her 35 year nursing career.
She admitted that on finding the patient unresponsive she failed to press the emergency alarm, ensure that the resuscitation team was called or commence basic life support.
In her defence, Ms Van der Knapp said the CPR protocol was different in her home country of Holland. But the NMC ruled as a nurse practising in the UK she had a duty to follow the required standards in this country.
The panel decided to impose a caution on Ms Van der Knapp, which will be visible on her registration for two years.
In Ms Agbeko’s case the panel ruled that sanctions were necessary because she was the nurse in charge and had shown “limited” insight during the NMC proceedings.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust said in a statement that both women no longer worked for the trust.
Trust director of nursing and midwifery Colin Ovington said: “The trust does not tolerate poor care and we have a robust internal disciplinary process for dealing with staff who do not reflect our trust values in their practice.
“Appropriate action, including suspension and dismissal is taken against those who fall short of the standards we expect from our nurses. Referrals are also made to the NMC where necessary.”
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