The first of a number of midwives facing fitness to practise cases in relation to baby deaths at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been struck off.
Marie Ratcliffe, a former band 7 midwife at Furness General Hospital, accepted 68 charges relating to 14 patients, including two babies that died.
She was accused of a string of allegations between 2004 and 2013, including failing to adequately monitor patients, record key observations in patient notes or request assistance from doctors.
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In its summing up, the NMC panel concluded that Ms Ratcliffe’s “failings were numerous”.
“The failings were wide-ranging and repeated over a 10-year period. Further, Ms Ratcliffe’s failings were serious in that they contributed to the deaths of Baby B and Baby C,” it said.
The panel described her contribution to the two baby deaths as a “serious departure from the standards expected of a registered midwife”.
It added: “The panel is of the view that her persistent and repeated failures in care along with her lack of insight into their consequences are demonstrative of a deep seated attitudinal problem.”
“Her conduct has fundamentally breached public trust”
The panel concluded that being removed from the register was the “only sanction which will be sufficient to protect the public interest and to maintain confidence in the profession”.
A spokesman for the Nursing and Midwifery Council said the panel removed Marie Ratcliffe from the nursing register “after it found her fitness to practise to be currently impaired.
She is the first of a number of midwives – thought to total seven or eight – being investigated by the NMC to go to a conduct and competence hearing in relation to the events at Morecambe Bay.
“The tragic events at the trust led to two independent reports and a significant review of midwifery regulation, and particularly the role of midwifery supervision,” said the spokeswoman.
“We are now seeking the urgent change to our legislation to enable us to deal with cases like this more quickly and to remove supervision from our remit and to give us direct control of regulatory decisions affecting midwives,” she added.
Ms Ratcliffe chose not to attend her hearing, which took place between 27 April and 20 May, and has since retired from the NHS.
She was previously subjected to an 18 months interim suspension order by the NMC early in 2014.
An independent inquiry, published in March this year into the failings at Morecambe Bay, found failures at the trust led to avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother.
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An initial internal review, carried out by the trust in 2004, criticised Marie Ratcliffe following the death of baby Elleanor Bennett.
A later inquest in 2013 found she was starved of oxygen, after her heartbeat was not monitored for 43 minutes before she was delivered. Her parents were never told about the 2004 review.