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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'A misdirected media frenzy over killer nurse'

  • 14 Comments

There has been a focus on nurse revalidation in the last week following the conviction of Stepping Hill Hospital nurse Victorino Chua for murdering two patients and poisoning 19 others.

Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Jackie Smith was asked by the media whether the introduction of revalidation in April 2016 will prevent another killer nurse from taking the lives of their patients.

Sadly, of course, she’s right when she says it won’t, and that no system of nurse regulation ever can.

The regulator has been more stringent about overseas applicants since Mr Chua entered the register in 2002. Applicants now have to show original documents instead of photocopies, and there is a face-to-face interview and a two-stage competence test.

However, Mr Chua did not kill because he was not a competent nurse, or because no one had checked his qualifications. Neither did he kill because of his nationality. For reasons only he can know, Mr Chua simply came to work with the intention to harm or kill.

”Mr Chua simply came to work with the intention to harm or kill’

Medical revalidation could not have prevented the GP and mass murderer Harold Shipman from killing his patients, so why should we expect nurse revalidation to be any different?

Revalidation is about checking nurses are maintaining and developing their competence. One disturbing consequence of Mr Chua’s conviction has been the focus on his nationality. When Andrew Hutchinson was charged with attacking patients in Oxford, no one suggested white Englishmen should not be allowed to nurse. After Beverly Allitt killed in Grantham, the media did not protest about the NHS continuing to recruit Lincolnshire nurses.

“There are thousands of highly qualified, competent and compassionate Filipinos working in the UK”

There are thousands of highly qualified, competent and compassionate Filipinos working in the UK as nurses and healthcare assistants, doing exemplary work to ensure their patients are well cared for. In fact, so short of homegrown nurses are we, that without them, the NHS and many other healthcare providers would not be able to care for their patients or residents.

What those patients do not need is to be whipped up into a frenzy or frightened of being cared for by anyone who does not have a British accent. The truth is that our hospitals are not full of murderers but of nurses dedicated to caring for their patients with dignity. You don’t have to be born in this country to care for those who are sick in it.

Jenni Middleton, editor

jenni.middleton@emap.com

Follow me on Twitter: @nursingtimesed

  • 14 Comments

Readers' comments (14)

  • michael stone

    What do you expect from the media ? Do you expect stories in The Mail to 'be balanced and neutral'. And what is 'balanced' anyway - as a Guardian reader and a Telegraph reader, and you will get two different answers.

    The media also routinely tend to 'simplify' the story, almost as a matter of course - even if they do not also distort it and its implications.

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  • I agree, the daily mail despise nurses and gps so will always tar us all with same brush

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  • michael stone

    Should have been 'ask a Guardian reader and a Telegraph reader' in my original comment - I typed 'as' and that made little sense !

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  • the media should be bound to give references to any reports they cite

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  • The editor of one publication taking a swipe at the editor of another - not unusual. Unfortunately the nursing profession is under-represented in every sense - the RCN, the NMC, Nursing Times... all too "polite". Everybody and anybody can walk all over the profession with impunity. The Daily Mail bottom-feeders (the obvious target of this overly polite piece) will be quaking in their boots, I'm sure!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 30-May-2015 5:47 pm

    Has the Mail been 'running anti-nurse stories' over this one ? I honestly have no idea - I don't look at the Mail, unless BBC Radio 4 has alerted me to some story or other in it.

    But everyone covered the 'killer nurse' story, and almost everyone ran 'how come he was employed as a nurse' stories - the BBC carried those, and the TV news channels.

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  • michael stone

    PS - for clarity, my 'Do you expect stories in The Mail to 'be balanced and neutral'' comment earlier, was a general one. It wasn't specifically about this story - I don't know how the Mail covered it. I do know that the Mail used to headline LCP stories with banners along the lines of 'Death Pathway' though - there were serious problems with the LCP, but the Mail was 'hysterical' during its anti-LCP campaign.

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  • Seems that some others agree with Ms Middleton:
    https://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/specialisms/management/filipino-nurses-protest-outside-national-newspaper-office/5085441.article?

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 1-Jun-2015 1:14 pm

    Yep - the story in NT today (which you linked to, but I had just read from the NT 'home' page), answers my question from yesterday.

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  • The hedia have been running anti Nursing Stories for years but because it was applied to Nursing Homes did anyone object ? Yes, suprise ,suprise Nurses do actually run Nursing Homes where has there been any support from the Nursing Fraternity for these Nurses ?

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