Staff nurses accused of poor standards of care by relatives of patients in the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry will have their identity protected.
Frontline nurses will not be named by the inquiry in relation to individual care failings. However, ward managers and more senior nursing staff could be identified for failings over complaints handling and regulation.
Inquiry chair Robert Francis QC last week issued a restriction order banning the naming of individuals “specifically accused of performing certain acts or failing to perform certain acts”.
He said: “They fall into a different category from directors of nursing, clinical directors and trust directors, who were or should have been involved in the complaints process and the provision of information to external bodies about concerns raised.”
Ward sisters and other nurses in management roles are protected by the order if a witness makes a complaint about the care they provided. However, if the witness’s grievance relates to their handling of the complaints procedure, they may be named.
The inquiry, which started earlier this month, heard evidence last week from patients and relatives who claim to have witnessed appalling standards of care.
Regular complaints included patients being left without water overnight, not being given adequate pain relief, not cleaned promptly if they soiled themselves and frequently ignored when they buzzed for assistance.
Julie Bailey, founder of the patient representative group Cure the NHS, told the inquiry she had spoken to some nurses on the ward where her mother, Bella Bailey, was treated who were concerned about standards.
She suggested they contact the unions but said the nurses told her they did not feel it was an option.
Ms Bailey also told the inquiry she had recently met with representatives from the Nursing and Midwifery Council and made a complaint about one nurse.