Patient safety

06.12.16

NMC to launch review into handling of Morecambe Bay cases

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMS) has announced that it will be conducting an independent lessons learned review into how it handled the scandal involving University Hospitals of Morecambe Baby NHS FT’s emergency and maternity services.

The FT entered special measures in June 2014 after a CQC report revealed deep concerns over the trust’s safety levels and leadership. The FT improved sufficiently to be removed from special measures in December of last year.

Dr Bill Kirkup, now lead associate investigator at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, found a ‘lethal mix’ of failures at the FT’s Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital which led to the unnecessary deaths of children mothers between 2004 and 2013.

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “The purpose of this review is to identify learning from our handling of the Morecambe Bay cases in order to identify where we could do things differently should a similar situation arise now.

“The scope and terms of reference will be determined once we have identified who will lead the review. As part of the review we will be inviting the families affected by the events at Morecambe Bay to contribute and share their experiences.”

The NMC’s review will commence once the outstanding fitness to practise cases relating to the FT have concluded, which is set to be at some point next year.

The regulator has already committed to publish its findings in full, looking to learn from the FT which was found to have ‘suppressed’ the leak of a 2010 internal report outlining its failings, and the CQC who were accused of failing to respond to concerns.

“We cannot change what has already happened, however, we must move forward by identifying how we should do things differently in the future,” Smith said.

(Image c. Peter Byrne PA Wire)

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