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Nurse removed from register after inappropriate comments as NMC plans free speech guidance

Nurse removed from register after inappropriate comments as NMC plans free speech guidance
Miranda Hughes on 'Britain on the Brink: the live debate'

A nurse has been removed from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register after saying on a live TV debate that people who voted for the Conservative party did not ‘deserve to be resuscitated’.

After receiving a large number of public complaints related to the comments made by Miranda Hughes, a former adult nurse, the NMC has also announced it plans to release new guidance for nurses around freedom of speech.

The NMC said it removed Ms Hughes from the register at her own request through the process of ‘agreed removal’ following the opening of a fitness to practice investigation.

Ms Hughes was referred to the NMC after she appeared as an audience member of the Channel 5 television show ‘Britain on the Brink: the live debate’ on 3 October 2022.

During this debate Ms Hughes said: ‘I’m sorry but if you have voted Conservative, you do not deserve to be resuscitated by the NHS’.

When asked by the host whether she would resuscitate people, she said ‘of course I would’.

Following the broadcast, Ms Hughes was dismissed from her position as a rehabilitation case manager to be investigated for breaching her employer’s media policy.

During the investigation that followed, further concerns were raised over Ms Hughes’ social media use, and it was alleged that she posted ‘inappropriate’ and ‘offensive’ messages, according to the NMC.

In the NMC’s decision letter on the application for agreed removal it was noted that Ms Hughes had posted online saying: ‘Priti Patel and her Tory cronies are evil. I hope karma comes for them’, and ‘F*** you Boris Johnson’.

Responding to the decision to grant her request for agreed removal, Lesley Maslen, executive director of professional regulation at the NMC, commented: Our Code is clear that nurses, midwives and nursing associates mustn’t express their personal beliefs in an inappropriate way, as it risks undermining public confidence in the professions.

‘At the same time, we strongly believe that everyone has the right to freedom of expression.’

Ms Maslen said the NMC would be launching ‘new guidance on freedom of expression and fitness to practise, which we’ve produced with input from some of our key partners’.

Nursing in Practice understands that this guidance is likely to be published by October.

Existing NMC guidance states that professionals must uphold the reputation of their profession at all times, and to achieve this they must make sure not to express their personal beliefs to people in an inappropriate way.

The NMC also referred to their social media guidance based on the Code that can be applied to other forms of communications such as blogs and messaging boards if required.


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