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Morecambe Bay midwife sacked after recent baby death

  • 4 Comments

A midwife due to face a Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary hearing over the death of a baby eight years ago has now been sacked by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust because of conduct discovered after a baby’s death this year.

Lindsey Biggs was one of several midwives being investigated by the nursing regulator for alleged failures linked to the death of baby Joshua Titcombe in 2008.

She is scheduled to appear at an NMC fitness to practise hearing next week.

Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal has revealed she has been dismissed by the Morecambe Bay following an investigation into the death of a baby in February 2016. The trust has also made a fresh referral to the NMC about her practice.

Sascha Wells, the trust’s director of midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology, confirmed a midwife had been dismissed after a disciplinary hearing, because a panel concluded that “her conduct fell fundamentally below our acceptable standards”.

In March the trust asked experts from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to carry out an independent investigation of the latest death.

Morecambe Bay said it had shared the findings of the report and remained in contact with the baby’s parents.

Ms Biggs was a band 6 midwife at Furness General Hospital in 2008 and has been accused by the NMC of failings, which may have contributed to the death of Joshua Titcombe who died after suffering a severe infection in 2008.

The NMC has alleged that she failed to carry out observations on baby Joshua or alert doctors to his low temperature. She is also accused of failing to adequately record the care she provided in clinical notes.

She was also criticised by the Morecambe Bay inquiry, led by Dr Bill Kirkup, after she wrote an email to a co-accused midwife, Holly Parkinson, in August 2009 with the subject line: “NMC shit”.

Bill Kirkup cutout Masthead

Bill Kirkup cutout Masthead

Bill Kirkup

In his report Dr Kirkup said: “There is no excuse for committing such views to the record, but more important is the underlying attitude it illustrates.”

The Kirkup report, published last year, concluded that failures at every level of the NHS created a “lethal mix”, which caused the avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother.

An NMC spokesman said: “The NMC is aware that a midwife employed by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust has been dismissed following an internal disciplinary process.

“We were recently made aware that the trust had launched an investigation into events surrounding the tragic death of a baby earlier this year and we have remained in close contact with the trust throughout,” he said.

“We made it clear in our discussions that we would expect the trust to make a referral to the NMC should they have concerns about this midwife’s fitness to practise,” said the spokesman.

He added: “We can confirm that we have received a referral in relation to this midwife [on Wednesday] and we will take the necessary steps to investigate as a matter of urgency. As this is an ongoing situation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • There is no justice with the NMC they fond anyone referred 'guilty' regardless of any mitigating circumstances.
    I got justice by appealing to the High Court who quashed the NMC decision with costs
    The term "NMC shit" is so right
    Referred cases should be heard by the LAW courts so that they are processed by independent people without anyone who has 'vested interests' involved.

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  • @Valerie.....hear hear!
    The NMC in my opinion is a joke nowadays. A scaremongering tactic to squeeze money out of us by unelected or undesired people. Get rid of them let us have Union to manage these political issues.

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  • "In March the trust asked experts from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to carry out an independent investigation of the latest death."

    It was an independent investigation that discovered 'lethal failures' at every level which led to the AVOIDABLE deaths of 11 babies and one mother.

    It appears to be the right call to me. Do your job properly. Follow calling criteria for Clinical review or MET call.

    Joshua would probably still be alive today if the midwife had done her job properly!!

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  • To Valerie
    Do you mean the Criminal Justice System or the Civil Justice System which includes Family Law and the Court of Protection?

    For sure the Court of Protection misses protecting in a timely and proper manner those it is there to protect. Our legal system is a shambles as those working in it might tell you. The language is incomprehensible and the process is unintelligible to the lay person. So lawyers can if they so chose and sometimes I believe they do choose so to do, rob you, or legal aid, blind.

    Because of the crisis with nurse retention, the NMC are under pressure to find those referred "not guilty." However to appear as though they take matters seriously they are likely to veer towards a guilty finding I'd guess.

    To fail to perform obs and write them up adequately is in my opinion a sackable offence. It can prevent others from doing their job adequately and clearly can result in harm including death which should be avoidable. Money for old rope? Unacceptable.

    To Wazir
    What makes you think that Unions aren't just a joke too? Contentious without common sense is a pain, as are government policies hidden by pretty talk.

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