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RCN welcomes nurse abuse ruling

A ruling made by the Court of Appeal will give protection to nurses and care workers who are unfairly accused of abuse, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Judges have ruled that anyone who is accused of abuse must have the opportunity to make representations to the Secretary of State for Health before they are placed on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) "provisional list".

Nurses who are placed on the list are immediately banned from working.

The blacklisting scheme was condemned as unlawful by the High Court last year, when a judge ruled that the Care Standards Act provision was incompatible with the Human Rights Act.

The Government took the case to the Court of Appeal where judges allowed the appeal, but reinterpreted the Act to make it compatible with rights to a fair trial and family life.

By a majority of two to one, the judges said the Act should be read to mean that the Secretary of State for Health should give workers the right to make representations before a decision is made - unless the Government minister considers that the delay would place a vulnerable adult at risk of harm.

Speaking after the judgement, Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the key aspects of the High Court's decision against the workings of the scheme.

"It is a victory of principle that gives care workers and nurses the right to give their side of the story before they are placed on the list."

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Royal College of Nursing

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