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Eight midwives face NMC action over Morecambe Bay deaths

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Eight midwives who worked for a foundation trust at the centre of an inquiry into infant and maternal deaths could face disciplinary action.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has decided that four midwives linked to cases involving baby deaths at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust should face fitness to practise hearings.

“We are continuing to work with the NMC to assist its on-going investigation into historic failings at the trust”

Jackie Daniel

Four other midwives’ cases are subject to further investigation by the regulator after concerns about poor care at the trust’s Furness General Hospital maternity unit, reported Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

Seven of the eight cases under consideration by the NMC are understood to refer to midwives involved in the treatment of baby Joshua Titcombe, who died from septicaemia in October 2008 after a catalogue of errors.

Three of the seven midwives involved in Joshua’s case will face misconduct hearings and, depending on their findings, could potentially lead to them being struck off the NMC register.

The cases of four other midwives are still under investigation and the eighth is understood to be being investigated in relation to the treatment of Alex Brady, who died in September 2008, and the death of Elleanor Bennett, who died in February 2004.

It is not known how many, if any, of the eight midwives are still employed by the trust.

Morecambe Bay is currently the subject of an independent inquiry, which is examining claims of poor care at the trust and alleged failures of the regulatory system to investigate.

It follows years of campaigning by families including Joshua’s father James Titcombe. The Kirkup inquiry is due to report in February.

James Titcombe: 'It’s time to improve the safety culture in the health service'James Titcombe

A spokeswoman for the NMC said: “We have several open cases relating to midwives who have practised at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

“At the end of an investigation, cases are considered by a panel of the investigating committee, which has a statutory duty to determine whether the nurse or midwife under investigation has a case to answer,” she said.

“A number of cases relating to UHMB have been considered by the investigating committee.”

Jackie Daniel, chief executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Whilst we cannot comment on individual members of staff, we can say that we are continuing to work with the NMC to assist its on-going investigation into historic failings at the trust.

“We are also supporting our staff throughout so that we can continue to offer a safe and effective service to women and their families.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Laha78

    It would be interesting to know how many of these midwives are being set up for a fall or used as scapegoats! Surely not all blame should rest solely with them!

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  • This is obviously upsetting for all those directly involved.

    It is a shame the NMC did not manage to deal with these cases before now, as I believe they have known about them for at least a couple of years?

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  • The NMC are knowingly putting the public at risk by prosecuting individuals and striking them off the register without adequate legislative powers. There is nothing to stop any of these nurses from practising as a paediatric nurse in the private sector or care home as 'nurse' is not a protected title. That is the real scandal.

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