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NMC will not take action against Basildon nurses


The Nursing and Midwifery Council has decided to take no fitness to practice cases against nurses and midwives at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital Foundation Trust following a special review at the trust.

However the extraordinary review, launched after the Care Quality Commission discovered serious problems at the trust, highlighted several areas where it still needs to improve.

The review report, published today, says there is “a perceived lack of confidence in the ability of the chief executive and director of nursing to foster a culture of strong leadership and team working amongst the nursing and midwifery staff”.

It says there was “no clear evidence that the board were checking the reality in the trust regarding actual patient experience and clinical standards”, rather than relying on regulation and surveys.

Its 22 recommendations include that the chief executive should be “fostering a culture where excellence in nursing and midwifery can flourish and support the director of nursing in achieving this”.

“It is critically important that the director of nursing and head of midwifery are supported to be champions of excellence in nursing and midwifery care and to ensure that students are afforded high quality educational opportunities,” it says.

The NMC said standards for education were being met, students are “generally sufficiently supported”, and there is “excellent partnership working between the trust and the [partner] universities”.

But it said the findings, “highlight the need for stronger leadership, improved communication channels between senior staff and those on the wards, and a robust reporting system for staff to effectively raise concerns about problems in the environment of care that may put people at risk”.

NMC chief executive and registrar Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes said in a statement: “While our findings are largely reassuring and they are making improvements, high quality patient care is a corporate responsibility and strong leadership and support from the very top are fundamental components of ensuring that all members of staff are fully able to deliver it in any healthcare environment.

“This is not the first time where issues around poor care have been linked to leadership and we have invited every director of nursing, head of midwifery and human resources director to the NMC over the next 12 months to discuss this and other issues related to their role in effectively safeguarding patients and the public.”

Professor Weir-Hughes pointed to the Prime Minister’s Commission report, which said nursing and midwifery leaders had “corporate responsibility” for patient safety, and the NMC code of conduct which, he said, “applies equally to the director of nursing on a trust board who designs services as it does to a Band 5 nurse delivering care on a ward”.

The CQC report, which was leaked to the media in November, said inspectors found blood stains on floors and curtains, blood splattered on trays used to carry equipment and badly soiled mattresses in accident and emergency.

They also found equipment being used repeatedly that should only be used once, and resuscitation room equipment that was past its use-by date.
Other items included blood-pressure cuffs stained with blood, suction machines contaminated with fluid inside and out, and apparent mould on equipment.


Readers' comments (8)

  • This comment by the NMC beggars belief. What a contradiction in terms. Were there no ward managers or registered nurses on those wards who should have been called to account, and why was the Director of nursing and her team similarly not bound by their code of conduct to protect patients.. The NMC states that nurses should raise concerns if they cannot provide care, but nothing happens to them if they don't, so what is the point of it being in the NMC guidance. It seems to me that the regulator is running with the hare and the hounds here. Certainly little evidence of protecting the public. more like protecting the nurses.

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  • tinkerbell

    Couldn't agree more. It's just lip service, usual blah, blah, blah. Every registered nurse has a duty to speak out, unfortunately due to a culture of sweeping most things under the carpet, even those that do speak out seldom get heard or any action taken about their concerns. Sadly most of the NHS operates this way and unless you work in the NHS people have little clue as to how this huge machine is coming to a grinding halt bogged down with paperwork and targets and not enough time for the people who really matter the patients. I have been a ward sister for many years, seen some excellent nurses, see some who should have been shown the door a long time ago. I have no time for sloppy practice and cutting corners, the least registered nurses can do is speak out.

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  • Well done, pity there wern't more like you. I shall be emailing the the Chief Executive of NMC to register my disgust at this, and I have already emailed the super regulator the CHRE to tell them what I think. If more of us would do this, perhaps things would change for the better. What sort of message does this send out, that it is ok to neglect because I did'nt get any support!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Thank goodness there are a few like -minded nurses who agree that the NMC are "Not fit for Practice". Your comments -as above, have spurred me on to register my utter disgust at the failure of the NMC to take action against those responsible for what can only be described as an appalling lack of care. The evidence of filth, and dirt on beds, floors, curtains, the A&E equipment which had definitely not been checked along with the obvious poor leadership, makes me so ashamed to admit that I belong to the nursing profession. For goodness sake how bad does it have to be before the NMC will carry out a thorough investigation and then act upon their findings?

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  • tinkerbell

    Well done you! How wonderful and freshing to know that there are still a few good men and women in the profession who are prepared to fight for the cause and still want to provide an 'excellent service' to our patients despite being bogged down by the uphill struggle of paperpushers who haven't got the faintest idea of what goes on on the frontline of 'real' nursing. For those of us who care about the patients, it's a daily battle - keep at it! We might not be able to change the world but we can change it for one patient at a time. Onwards and upwards.

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  • tinkerbell

    I have just contacted NMC and asked them what it is they do with my yearly subscription apart from have my name on a register. It seems they are not upholding any standards and are a disgrace themselves. They just seem to be rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic., whilst awaiting the nhs to sink. They have just made it that much harder for a good nurse to do their job by sending out the message that sloppy practice will be tolerated and that there are no real standards, just imaginary ones.

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  • Its high time there was an alternative to the NMC, how can we expect to achieve the public trust when the body responsible for protecting the public does nothing. So if the NMC does nothing for the members or the public then it is as effective as an MP in the expenses scandal. Over priced, over paid and useless.

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  • There seems to be one standard for front line nurses and another for Directors of Nursing. the NMC never seems to investigate seniors nurses over systems failures that they oversee . The reason the NMC is not going to do anything in Basildon is so they can let these very senior nurses off the hook. I am not suprised that that one of the posters above states that the NMC has lost correspondence this seems to be the stock answer from them whenever they are challenged about their lack of action - and I speak from personal experience of tryiing to deal withe totally inncompetent fitness to practice dept . As for "support " for nurses from the NMC- don't be naive - that is not their function . They are there only to protect the public and are NEVER on your side should the complicated and unpredictable occupational world we live in trip you up

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