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NMC snubs calls for clarity on Lincolnshire student withdrawal


Nursing staff and students have been left in the dark by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which has snubbed calls to explain why it stopped training at a Lincolnshire hospital.

The NMC announced on 29 July that it would withdraw all nursing and midwifery students from the Pilgrim Hospital with immediate effect after identifying “serious concerns” with the learning environment. No further explanation has been given in the subsequent two weeks.

Royal College of Nursing regional officer for the East Midlands Julie Connolly said the events had “had an effect on the public perception of care at Pilgrim Hospital”, and “also impacted on the morale of hardworking nurses.”

She said meetings were ongoing between the NMC, unions, the universities and the trust to identify problems. “However, we still have not been given any specific details.”

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, had expected a written explanation by 12 August, but none was received.

A total of 82 students, from Nottingham University, Lincoln University, and the Open University, were affected.

Mark Avis, head of the University of Nottingham’s school of nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy, where about 50 of the students were studying, said third year students had been sent to other placements in the trust’s Lincoln County Hospital, community hospitals and in the private sector.

He told Nursing Times that students had been positive about their experiences at the Pilgrim.

Prof Avis said the universities involved, along with the trust and the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority, wrote a joint letter to the NMC requesting further information, but the NMC is yet to answer.

First and second year students have been sent on leave and will have to make up the time they have lost later during their training.

It is unclear whether the hospital will take on a new cohort of students when the new academic year starts in September.

As Nursing Times went to press, a further meeting was due on 16 August between the NMC, the trust and the universities. The NMC declined to comment.


Readers' comments (2)

  • I wonder if it is something as simple as the geographical isolation of Boston or is somethong more serious.
    The ban will have a severe effect on the Trusts ability to recruit and retain high quality staff which in turn will impact on patient care and safety.
    The Trust may be forced to spent precious resources on overseas recruiting to fill the vacancy gap.
    Let us hope the true reason is revealed soon.

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  • It is extremely important that the NMC - which already has a reputation in some quarters for high handed action with minimum transparency as well as a history of being accused of institutional bullying (Recorded in Hansard) - identifies the reasons for this action. Granted there may be reasons not to produce a finely detailed document for public discussion, but the basic reasons should be provided to ensure that lessons learned may be implemented elsewhere as necessary before it is too late.

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