Nursing & Midwifery Council
23 Portland Place
25th Jan 10
Dear Prof Weir-Hughes
It was encouraging to read in the Nursing Times, your plan to see the NMC take action against trusts where there are serious concerns about patient care.
Staff regularly contact CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions in the NHS (UK)) in great distress and disbelief that they have suddenly been suspended.
A common factor in many of these people’s cases is that they have been outspoken about staffing shortages and poor standards of care. This is a very effective way of silencing them.
1. One sure way of spotting a malfunctioning organisation would be to require trusts to report all their suspensions, detailing who, why and how they are dealing with their suspensions. As the Department of Health refuses to fulfil that function would the NMC make it a requirement?
2. However, in M Haywood’s case, the NMC described the malpractices of the managers of the failing trust with little comment and no action. How does the NMC hope to change this situation?
Some people have informed us recently that some HR departments are removing their time frames from their policies for suspensions and subsequent disciplinary procedures as they are unable to fulfil the time scales, the numbers being so high. Managers are currently unaccountable for such actions. Poor patient care is never going to be stopped while these practices of silencing staff continue.
The National Audit report of 2003 into suspensions in hospitals and ambulance trusts in England in a 15 month period documented the poor management practices and loss of good staff from the NHS, now too ill or too disillusioned to continue in work.
Nothing has changed. We have been campaigning for over 6 years to see these destructive practices stopped but to no avail. We believe the Department of Health is concerned that if trusts had to consult the National Clinical Assessment Service before taking action, NCAS would be overwhelmed, even though they saw an 85% reduction in suspensions for doctors and dentists when the requirement was made mandatory for them.
Please give these proposals your consideration in your quest to ensure that patient care is at the least adequate. We look forward to hearing from you.
Julie Fagan, CAUSE founder member
Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions in the NHS (UK)
Web site:www.suspension-nhs.org E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign Co-ordinators: Julie Fagan, Craig Longstaff, Andre Downer,
Elsie Gayle (midwifery spokesperson), Dave Williams (Welsh spokesperson)
and Kate Wynn (Scottish spokesperson)
Copy to Mr Edward Garnier QC, MP