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Former director of nursing suspended by NMC


A former nursing director has been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, after a report exposed serious failings at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

Helen Lockett, who resigned from the trust in 2014, was handed an interim suspension order by the NMC last week after the regulator launched an investigation into her actions at the trust.

“I hope this will send a signal to all other professional bodies”

Rosie Cooper

In March, a governance review by Capsticks heavily criticised the trust and its former board for serious failures it likened to those found at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The report said the pursuit of aggressive savings and foundation trust status between 2011 and 2014 led to a culture of bullying and harassment and substandard patient care. It also criticised board members for downgrading risks and incidents, with information kept from non-executive board members.

After the CQC raised concerns about the trust’s culture and staffing in 2014, Ms Lockett resigned along with trust chief executive Bernie Cuthel and human resources director Michelle Porteus.

Since then Ms Lockett has been working as a management consultant, according to Nursing Times’  sister title Health Service Journal.

An interim orders panel convened by the NMC on 5 April agreed to suspend Ms Lockett’s registration for 18 months but the NMC has refused to reveal specific details about the case against her.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, who made the initial complaint against Ms Lockett, said: “I hope this will send a signal to all other professional bodies, regulators and commissioners that the [Liverpool Community Health Trust] case cannot be swept under the carpet. To do so fails patients and staff.”

Helen Lockett

Helen Lockett

Helen Lockett

A spokesman for the trust said: “In line with the [Capsticks] report’s recommendations, we sent the review’s findings to health regulators, including the NMC, to enable them to determine whether they need to take action around any senior managers who were at the trust when the problems occurred.

“The report also found that the trust has turned an important corner since changing direction two years ago and investing heavily in safe staffing levels, with more than 150 nurses, health visitors and other clinicians recruited.

“As part of this change, the trust’s board looks very different to how it did in April 2014. There is an entirely new executive director and non-executive director team.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • About time too.

    This is far from the only DoN who has presided over cuts and more cuts to clinical posts, a bullying management culture and the like and done absolutely nothing to protect sharp end nurses; there are many more of them out there.

    It is also noteworthy that the complaint had to come from an outside source, an MP, who is safe from any form of retribution by the trust in question: imagine if any of us had ever made such a complaint to the NMC about our DoN, as I am certain many could? How quickly would the complainant be down the drive on some trumped up reason for sacking?

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  • I remember working for Adult Service with a co. council setting during the time when they were working towards some status for their section, in a county-wide way, so all similar sections within the same county achieved the award jointly.

    During this time, it was worse for staff as they achieved their status-aim. So, the moral of the tale is, when a hosptial/trust is aiming to achieve some special status (foundation, in this case), this should serve as a warning that stress, harrassent, bullying, shortages, etc, will be on the increase during this time. If an organisation is trying to achieve something - noble though it may be - they will stop at nothing to achieve it. It's the energy behind the pursuit rather than the goal that needs watching.

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  • So would it be helpful to forward whistleblowing complaints anonymously to MPs to raise their awareness and maybe get something done about unsafe management?

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  • Many of the senior staff who worked along side Ms Lockett, and are just as guilty of bully & harressment are in well paid jobs across the north west in other NHS trusts. In fact some of the senior staff at LCH who ARE definitely just as guilty are still working at this trust !

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  • Makes me wonder whether this nurse and her coven had created their own version of the 6 Cs at this trust. “C” is for cowardice, coercion, commission, collusion, contagion, control.
    Confidence in nurse directors takes yet another knock. Are they Really nurses at all if they are so quick to sell their souls to Board Corporacy?
    Funnily enough nurses are the ones on the Board who take a fall - watch the other Board members be “rehabilitated” and recycled elsewhere

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