The Nursing and Midwifery Council has withdrawn 100 student nurses from a hospital in Lincolnshire after the Care Quality Commission raised “serious concerns” about the learning environment.
The announcement, about the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, came this afternoon, after students were told yesterday.
An NMC statement said: “Following serious concerns that have formally been raised with the NMC we have asked the University of Lincoln, the University of Nottingham and the Open University to withdraw around 100 nursing and midwifery students with immediate effect.
“We are working with the universities to review the suitability of the learning environment at Pilgrim Hospital to support all students affected at this time.”
However the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Pilgrim, said it was now “seeking further clarification from the NMC” about why the action had been taken.
A spokeswoman emphasised that the hospital’s capacity to deliver safe services was “not reliant” on student nurses and midwives, and emphasised that the trust’s first priority would be patient care.
It is the first time that the NMC has removed all students from a hospital. It is understood that concerns were raised by the CQC, which has as memorandum of understanding with the NMC agreeing to share any concerns in the interest of patient safety.
Many of the students affected will be in the middle of their placements, and the NMC will be working with their universities to move them to new sites as soon as possible.
It is not yet clear how long students will not be able to undertake placements at the Pilgrim, as this will depend on the NMC’s review, which began today.
The CQC announced in June that it would be conducting its own review into the hospital, following a damning inspection report.
The regulator had ordered the trust to make improvements after an inspection in February. However, in June it voiced dissatisfaction with the progress the trust had made, and was dissatisfied with its ability to identify and address problems.
The CQC is also working with the police and local authority over “several” safeguarding investigations currently underway, relating to allegations of abuse and neglect at the trust.
A Unison spokeswoman said the union, which represents many of those involved, will be urgently seeking meetings with the NMC to secure alternative placements for the students, and at a local level with the trust to ensure standards of patient care are upheld.