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NMC misconduct hearing against Pauline Cafferkey begins


The Nursing and Midwifery Council has begun a hearing over allegations of misconduct against British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who survived after contracting the ebola virus.

According to media reports, Ms Cafferkey allegedly did not tell health officials how high her temperature was when she returned to London in 2014 after working in Africa during the outbreak of the virus.

Public Health England staff, in charge of screening for ebola at London’s Heathrow airport, took Ms Cafferkey’s temperature before allowing her to board a connecting flight to Glasgow.

She later became critically ill and had to return to London for life-saving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

The NMC case against Ms Cafferkey started today in Edinburgh, but the charges against her have not been confirmed by the regulator.

Lawyers representing Ms Cafferkey have applied to have the hearing held in private – including the charges. A conduct and competence panel is now considering the request.

An NMC hearing can be held in private for reasons including if information about the nurse’s health is to be heard.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey speaks of anguish over NMC case

Pauline Cafferkey

An NMC spokesman said it would provide a statement either once the charges had been confirmed – if the hearing is not held in private – or after the hearing has concluded, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

Earlier this summer, Ms Cafferkey spoke out about the stress that the NMC investigations had been causing her.

The nurse, who has experienced several relapses since spending five weeks working in Sierra Leone, said at the time she was unsure why the NMC’s investigations had not been completed at that point – more than 18 months after she returned to the UK from Africa.



Readers' comments (15)

  • First of all I would like to know who is the idiot that referred her to the NMC? What does the NMC think of us nurses do we wake on the the morning of our shift and say to ourselves "right I think I'm going to kill a few patients today" 99.9% of nurses aim to do no harm! That is why we are nurses. And to say protecting the public pleeaaase. Our whole career is based on protecting the public, turning up for work is protecting the public, telling the doctor the drug dose is wrong is protecting the public. This nurse performed the highest act of humanity and yet an institution like the NMC thinks it suitable to punish her for the pleasure. Its things like this the makes me discourage people from becoming nurses.

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  • michael stone

    We don't actually know what happened here, do we ?

    She will have had conversations with more than one person who was supposed to be filtering out potential Ebola patients, but what she says was said, and what they say was said, could well be different. What she was 'told to do' might also have been 'contradictory'.

    IF she was 'disguising' a high temperature [by taking paracetamol] and she did not disclose that, then that looks very dubious behaviour for a nurse returning from an Ebola area.

    But it strikes me, that this should have all been sorted out soon after she returned to the country - not, delayed for this long.

    As for 'what idiot reported her to the NMC ?': well, rather cynically, our government was making a lot of its measures to prevent Ebola from reaching the UK, wasn't it ? She was the proof, that Ebola had got past the airport: so either she did something wrong, or the prevention measures were less than 100% effective. It is inevitable that the prevention measures are less than 100% effective - but, it is very rare for a government minister to stand up and admit that: so, it might, if one is cynical, be considered 'somewhat convenient' for politicians, if she was at fault here, and not the preventative system.

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  • Jackie Smith needs to go if that is what I am paying my fee would seem sorry or reverse is not within the vocabulary of the NMC, she was hard faced on her TV interview (and clearly quite angry at being quizzed) and didn't even wish Pauline well. I was looking at some of the disciplinary conduct hearings on the website and to be quite honest some of it was rubbish that should have been dealt with at a local level, but it's keeping someone a seat on the gravy train.

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  • michael stone

    I think I heard Jackie Smith talking about this on BBC Radio 4 after Pauline was absolved - I feel fairly sure that Jackie Smith said something to the effect that 'we [the NMC] need to have OUR RULES CHANGED so that we can perform these investigations differently': the point being, that the NMC is bound by regulations which the NMC itself cannot alter. I believe I've seen similar comments before.

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  • Im absolutely appalled that this poor nurse has been subjected to so much stress !!
    What a shocking institution this NMC has proved itself to be !!

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