Professional Standards Authority reviews the activities of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) stating :- “Up to 19 infants and mothers died at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) between 2004 and 2013 in cases where there were significant or major failures of care. Of these, 11 babies and one mother would have survived, if they had received the right care, an independent investigation has found. Poor standards of care were exacerbated by professional rivalries. When questions were asked following the deaths of babies, a group of midwives – who dubbed themselves “the musketeers” colluded to give the same story. Relations between midwives and doctors were “seriously dysfunctional”. Midwives neglected to alert doctors about patient complications in time.”
“When bereaved parents sought explanations for the deaths of their infants, critical medical notes containing evidence of medical failings disappeared. Furthermore emails between senior managers at the trust suggest officials attempted to influence coroners into avoiding an inquest.”
Morecambe Bay midwife scandal. An investigation into 11 newborn babies and one mother at Furness General Hospital between 2004 and 20011 found a “lethal mix” of failings leading to a cover-up.
The review was commissioned last year by health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt after the NMC took almost eight years to make decisions about midwives accused of poor care at UHMB.
The watchdog (the NMC) has been criticised for monitoring the online activity of James Titcombe, whose baby Joshua died in 2008, aged just nine days, when midwives Holly Parkinson and Lindsey Biggs repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat an infection. The regulators was also found to have spent £240,000 on lawyers in order to withhold information from the bereaved father.
June 2010: Watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carries out an unannounced inspection of Furness General Hospital and gives it a clean bill of health.
June 2013: An independent report concludes the CQC might have deliberately suppressed an internal review which highlighted weaknesses in its inspections of the trust. Two years earlier a CQC manager was tasked with reviewing the organisation’s regulatory decisions for UHMBT. But in 2012 the official was ordered to delete their findings by a senior manager because it was “potentially damaging to the CQC’s reputation”, according to the independent report. Claims were denied by several of those involved.
Jackie Smith announced her departure as chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on Monday, as it was braced for heavy criticism about a succession of failures. Jackie Smith was appointed the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar in October 2012, having been the acting Chief Executive and Registrar from December 2011. Jackie joined the NMC as the director of Fitness to Practise (FtP) in August 2010, driving forward improvements to meet the NMC’s goal of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the public.
But she was allowed to resign. I wonder if she gets a ‘leaving’ bonus? As for the CQC, one is forced to query, “Who watches the watchers?”