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Former Mid Staffs chief nurse case adjourned


A Nursing and Midwifery Council fitness to practise panel has failed to reach a verdict in the case of former Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust chief nurse Janice Harry.

Ms Harry, aged 60 and now retired, faces a string of misconduct allegations related to her role as director of nursing at Mid Staffordshire during the period of serious care failings at the trust.

Despite hearing evidence all week the panel were unable to reach a conclusion on the charges and adjourned the case until October.

It will then consider whether the allegations are proven, whether they amount to misconduct and impairment and whether Ms Harry should be made subject to a sanction or striking off order.

It is the second time the case has been adjourned. Evidence against Ms Harry was first heard in March.

During last week’s hearing Ms Harry distanced herself from problems at the trust and denied having operational responsibility for either the staffing level, or care provided by nurses, on the hospital wards.

She told the NMC panel that problems around short staffing were never raised with her and that controversial plans to reorganise wards and reduce skill mix happened after she left in June 2006.

She said she had “strategic responsibility”, but did not line manage ward nurses, which instead rested with the trust’s separate clinical directorates.

Ms Harry suggested responsibility for staffing and skill mix was also the responsibility of the clinical directorates, adding: “If staffing levels were what they were it was never raised with me.”

Questioned by NMC case presenter William Davis whether she accepted an overall responsibility on the trust board, Ms Harry said: “Nurses are responsible for their own activities and practice.”

Ms Harry joined the trust in 1998 and worked as chief nurse on the board until she left in June 2006.


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Readers' comments (11)

  • Truly astonishing.

    if there was one case the NMC needed to get right and in a timely and transparent manner, it as this one.

    The panel has let down the NMC. Or is there another cause?

    If there was a need to debate further then waiting till October is the worst possible option.

    This is truly unacceptable and the very least that needs to happen is a transparent explanation.

    Nurses and patients are bound to ask some very serious questions. Have read many thousands of pages of evidence from the Robert Francis Inquiry I am gobsmacked

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  • She's retired so what effect will any NMC decision have on her anyway?

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  • Roger Kline

    Too true, just compare it to the 2 AED sisters struck off ( do they then lose all pension monies?) whereas the ones above get away scott-free, but I could see it coming.

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  • You've got to hand it to the NMC. They are consistent and this is certainly not a surprise outcome. No less infuriating though.

    I have no sympathy for the two nasty pieces of work who were struck off. They can lose everything as far as I'm concerned. It's the least they deserve. One of the incidental dangers of this kind of NMC failure is that these two can bleat about being treated unfairly or with excessive consequences. Why present them with that opportunity?

    But it does go back to the point being made time and again by the majority of those who comment here; get after ALL of those responsible at Mid Staffs, no matter who and how many they are......and I mean all the way up to and including those in government, and punish them.

    What do you think the chances are of that happening? Thought so. Neither do I.

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  • Mags

    So true. I find it amazing that the NMC take for gospel (in the 2 sisters case) what is, really, pure conjecture ( regarding what they said), and then believe this Nursing Directors story that she wasn't aware of any shortcomings regarding staffing.

    Surely, if she was the strategist, she must have known how many troops she had at her disposal and how they were deployed.

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  • "Nothing to do me me guv I was only Chief Nurse for the Trust and y'know I had no responsibility for the nurses and y'know I didn't know what was happening (cos nobody told me) and anyway y'know it's really up to individual nurses to get their own practise right and nothing to do me, the Chief Nurse ...."

    It would be difficult to conceive of a more blatant attempt to abrogate RESPONSIBILITY. As usual those at the sharpest end of a rotten systemic failure are the first to cop it because they are the softest targets and as usual those RESPONSIBLE for the systems failure get off scot-free.

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  • Here was me thinking she was line manager for all the nurses in the trust! Talk about trying to dodge a bullet. As already said If she was the chief nurse it is her business to know skill mix and staffing levels throughout the hospital. If I was the chief nurse of a trust, I would make sure I did regular walk rounds or at least keep in contact with the ward managers to ensure that I knew what was going on on the ground. The people who have these jobs seem to want the pay packet but not the responsibility that goes with it.

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  • Dear Heavens. You are a Chief Nurse of a large Trust with a handsome salary for your trouble.

    Does it really have to be spelled out to you that the most elementary part of your remit is that you need to know what the **** is happening at the clinical end on your watch???

    It is crystal clear from her statements that she did not grasp this. She has therefore demonstrated extreme stupidity and/or extreme incompetence: either way she deserves to be removed from the register .... like any other registrant who is demonstrably incompetent or dangerous, whether she is retired or not.

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  • regardless of the weighty evidence against her which prove her unfit for practice, surely the responses she gave are sufficient to demonstrate that this individual has abused her power as a chief nurse, did not clearly understand and exercise her role and responsibilities in that position and has no place on the professional NMC register to practice as a nurse and regardless of her current position in retirement.

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  • michael stone

    Let's be fair - some of these things are hard to deal with. And if you continually adjourn dealing with something, eventually everything happened so long ago, that it becomes impossible to collect a reasonable 'evidence base' - what on earth, could possibly be wrong with that ?

    I'm also slightly puzzled - isn't this the the same case several of us had posted about (a week or so ago), when the comments were 'pulled for legal reasons' by NT ? If the case has only been adjourned, how come we can comment now ?

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