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NMC defends checks process after Stepping Hill case

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The system of checks on overseas nurses has been “significantly strengthened” since convicted murderer Victorino Chua joined the register, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Mr Chua, originally from the Philippines, was jailed for life yesterday after having been found guilty of murdering two patients and multiple poisonings at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

“We have significantly strengthened our processes since then”

Jackie Smith

Subsequent national media coverage surrounding the case has focused on whether he underwent sufficient background checks before he joined the UK register in 2002 and if his overseas qualifications were actually genuine.

The NMC has found itself increasingly in the spotlight following the judgement, but the regulator yesterday issued a statement defending its positions.  

In the statement, NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said the regulator had “worked closely” with Greater Manchester Police during its investigation into Mr Chua.

“We understand that Greater Manchester Police have concerns about Mr Chua’s qualifications, but we have not been shown evidence that his documents were fraudulent,” she said.

Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith

“When Mr Chua joined the register in 2002, our registration process allowed applicants to provide photocopies of documentation,” she said. “We recognise that this was far from ideal, and we have significantly strengthened our processes since then.

“We now require original documentation, and applicants must undergo a face-to-face interview and a two-stage test of competence,” she added.

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