A report into a nurse who was charged with murdering three patients concluded today she was “not a Beverley Allitt” and suggested a “combination of individual and systems failure” were to blame.
The independent inquiry revealed a catalogue of systemic failures in the way Anne Grigg-Booth was allowed to carry out her work as a night nurse practitioner at Airedale NHS Trust.
The damning report said Grigg-Booth was “utterly convinced of her own clinical prowess” and at night “she was effectively in charge of the hospital”.
Grigg-Booth, from Nelson, Lancashire, died before she could go on trial at Bradford Crown Court. She was 52.
The charges related to her injecting patients with high doses of painkilling drugs such as morphine and diamorphine on the night shift at Airedale General Hospital near Keighley, West Yorkshire, where she worked.
After her death, detectives from West Yorkshire Police said they believed she could have killed many more patients in her 25-year career.
But today, an independent inquiry report concluded that it was unlikely that Grigg-Booth “deliberately set out to harm patients” and said the events investigated “occurred as a result of a combination of individual and systems failure”.
The report concluded that the board was wrong to think they were just dealing with a “rogue nurse” instead of systemic failure.
“The most striking failure was in the disconnection between what was happening on the wards at night, and what the board knew,” the report concluded.
Eddie Kinsella, an independent inquiry team report member, said Grigg-Booth should not be “demonised” following the publication of today’s report.
“She and other senior night nurse practitioners reasonably believed they were acting with the authority of the board as a whole. The board did not understand that,” he said.
Today, Bridget Fletcher, chief nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to all those affected by these events.
“We hope that this final stage of the process has now fully explained the details concerning each patient, as well as the actions of Sister Grigg-Booth, other staff and the Trust at the time of the events, eight years ago.
“We are sorry for any additional distress that was caused at what was already an anxious time for relatives, having lost a family member, due to any delays in the investigation or inquiry process.
“As outlined in the report, the Trust has made significant improvements, particularly since 2005, thanks to the enormous efforts by the Trust board and staff at every level and we would like to reassure both patients and the local community that patient safety is, and always will be, our highest priority.”