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Nurse struck off for not investigating abuse allegations


A nursing manager who failed to investigate abuse allegations at a Northern Ireland nursing home has been struck off.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) disciplinary proceedings on 20 February also found the nurse, Katherine McCall, guilty of bringing the nursing profession into disrepute.

Ms McCall, who worked at Cherry Tree House nursing home in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, between 2007 and 2011, did not appear at the disciplinary hearing in Belfast.

In a different case last year, a whistleblower told the BBC that she had first made claims of patient neglect at Cherry Tree House in 2005.

This week’s hearing was told that Ms McCall, as the home’s nursing manager, was asked to investigate allegations of abuse by an employee against eight residents in 2010-2011.

The NMC discovered evidence that Ms McCall had not properly investigated five of those incidents.

Cherry Tree House’s present manager Elizabeth Hewitt, in a statement on behalf of the home, said it was “a sad day for the nursing profession”.

Ms Hewitt said that in 2010, the home’s owner had reported Ms McCall to the NMC because she did not properly investigate a complaint about a care assistant.

At that time, a new manager was installed at the home and the care assistant, against whom the claims of speaking inappropriately to patients were made, was no longer working there.

The new manager dealt with the worries and provided adequate reassurance to residents and their families, she said.

Ms Hewitt repeated the home’s apologies to any residents who were involved and for any distress they may have endured while in its care then.

Last November, Northern Ireland health minister Edwin Poots told the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) health watchdog to undertake a review of Cherry Tree House nursing home.

This followed a BBC report that a whistleblower had initially forwarded claims of patient neglect and poor practice at the home in 2005. These allegations are unrelated to Ms McCall’s disciplinary case.


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Readers' comments (7)

  • michael stone

    Just out of [very slight] interest:

    '... to investigate abuse allegations against five residents ...'

    Is it me, or is that dodgy English (surely the allegations are not 'against' the residents, when you read the story) ?

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  • Nit picking aside, I think the important message here to all nurses is that we can be removed from the register not only for our actions but also NON actions.

    That should serve as a very powerful message.

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  • Abuse also includes poor standards of care. As nurses we are required to report these shortfalls in the expected standards despite misgivings around "dobbing in"colleagues.

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  • Yes. Sloppy English does no one any favours. If a professional journalist can't even spot this mistake .... well, never mind.

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  • This is very unfair on nursing profession Nurses are always at the receiving end Nursing profession doesn't wort it anymore

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  • I actually left a nursing home last year due to the fact I was working 12 hr shifts, had one lunch break which I kept being taken off to work on the wards, I repeatedly heard negative comments in the office regarding some of the not to easy to handle residents and some staff members after an evening out drinking working under the influence. It was a terrible place for the residents to have to live in. My health deteriated my GP signed me off work.

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  • This gives me hope - having suffered abuse for 18mths as the patient of a nurse (who just happened to have done her EN-conversion with the nurse bully whose impact I was being treated for) I reported the abuse. 18 months later, when abuser was named 'nurse of the year' & I found out my complaint had never been investigated, the nurse manager (different one by then to one I'd made complaint to) said 'it was no longer in anyone's interest to investigate'. Who was 'anyone'? Certainly not me, who lives with the knowledge I'm receiving care in a service where abuse is covered up, and with the impact of falsified medical notes (which apparently 'can't be changed if they were written in good faith' (even when there's documentary evidence they're untrue, and current GP/keyworker say 'unrecognisable' as me) and the only way of them being declared 'not written in good faith' is for abuser to admit her abuse???). Maybe if manager's realised the personal implications for them, they might act, rather than avoiding what, I admit, probably wouldn't be a 'fun' task, as cover-up is easier.

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