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Whistleblower nurse reinstated

A nurse who blew the whistle on poor hospital care standards for a BBC Panorama documentary has had her striking off reversed.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has accepted a High Court decision that a one-year caution is a sufficient punishment.

Margaret Haywood breached patient confidentiality by secretly filming the neglect of elderly patients at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton.

She says in a joint statement with the NMC and RCN that "all parties agree that the sanction decided by the court represents a fair outcome to this case".

Says Kathy George, chief executive and registrar at the NMC: "One of the lessons of Margaret Haywood's case is that nurses and midwives need clearer information about how to appropriately raise and escalate concerns in a way that is safe for patients and in a way that will not bring them into conflict with their code of conduct."

Guidance is to be published next year on how nurses and midwives should appropriately raise and escalate concerns.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Have used this case within an essay for a counselling diploma (when asked to look at and compare professional codes). Glad she has had her registration restored as I'm sure it was her compassionate, activist heart that took her over this threshold and if it has highlighted the need for improved structured inspection of care/staffing levels, training needs and
a thorough good overhaul of care of the elderly then she has been a champion for the cause" - Barbara Oldham, Great Yarmouth

"Agree with these comments – nursing is about caring.  Anecdotally many nurses find their ability to deliver safe and effective care compromised by the overriding need to meet national targets. We need more nurses in senior positions where they can defend the appropriate staffing levels required to meet patients' needs in a safe, caring and compassionate way. RCN campaigns such as Nutrition Now, and Dignity can help frontline nurses identify aspects of care in need of improvement" - Catherine Gleeson, West Yorks

"Thank goodness for a successful outcome. However, Margaret Heywood has had a high personal price to pay for something that should have been applauded not condemned - aren't we about caring?" - Helen, Leeds

"So pleased to know this outcome because more cases of bad practice can be revealed. I congratulate Margaret Haywood for having taken that courage" - Chez, Northants