The NMC and the fact free determination

This is going to be a detailed post as it’s important to highlight just how shite the NMC panel ‘fact determination’ about the STATT nurses is. This is about the hearing process rather than what the nurses did and didn’t do.

As background context feast your eyes on this:

Maintaining public confidence and proper professional standards is a bit of a stretch given the almost fact free determination. Instead, the 66 page document contains unsubstantiated assertions, conjecture and an erasing of evidence from previous hearings. I’ll present a few examples here to give a mcwhiffy flavour of the whole thing. The six nurses are referred to as Colleagues A-F.

Batting for the nurses

The bias throughout the document is quite simply breathtaking. Here’s the description of one nurse. The same nurse who refused to answer a question at LB’s inquest on the basis of self-incrimination (evoking Rule 22).

The panel fall over themselves in a smorgasbord of judgement and conjecture which makes ‘the dog ate my homework’ seem a reasonable excuse. The extent of this bias is beautifully captured in the following extract.

The expert witness clearly states a risk assessment should have been done and patients with epilepsy should be within physical reach at all times. This reiterates the expert witness evidence from LB’s inquest and the GMC hearing. The panel attempt to bury this unassailable evidence in a set of absurd and discrediting sentences. Under some pressure… declined to express a view… She could not say…

How can she say what the outcome of an assessment might have been when it wasn’t done? Putting her ‘under some pressure’ is also a chilling comment.

A very partial engagement with ‘evidence’

The pesky facts that get in the way of the chosen panel narrative are ignored or buried as we saw above. They argue at length that the nurses could not have known LB was having seizures in the unit. That I told them LB had a seizure in May is erased. The fact [this is a fact] that I emailed the unit three days before LB died to say I was concerned he had been drowsy at the weekend is dismissed using evidence from the CTM notes.

This handily ignores the RIO notes where staff reported LB was subdued and red-eyed over that weekend [more facts]. A few paragraphs later the RIO notes are used as (quote) ‘positive evidence’ to show that a nurse made a verruca care plan for LB. The determination (see what I did there) of the panel to rule out any whiff that the nurses should have done anything differently because LB’s epilepsy was ‘well controlled’ is undermined by the fact [yep, another one] that they all knew he had had a seizure in January. Just a few months earlier. This document is more about annihilating actual facts than determining them.

The old language giveaway

There is a littering of language which demonstrates the lack of panel objectivity. I don’t know if this is typical of an NMC panel determination but sweet baby cheesus I hope not. Tom has been an employee at Yellow Submarine for 8 months now and his work involves writing reports. He knows you have to be objective with the language you use. A quick google shows the panel chair has been doing the job for way more than eight months (and I suspect is considerably older than 19) so I can only assume using words like ‘unsurprisingly’ must be commonplace among NMC panel determinations.

A further example can be seen in the following two paragraphs.

The first sentence is again absurd. How could there be evidence of something that didn’t happen? Then there is an emphatic ‘precisely’ underlining apparent good nursing practice. This is followed with a mealy mouthed ‘may have been incorrect’ in the second paragraph which makes me want to gouge my eyes out it’s so deeply offensive. It was incorrect. That’s why LB is fucking dead. [Howl]

Blame, blame and more blame

Blame rears its ugly head again. Particularly hideous given the judgement in the HSE criminal prosecution stated there.was.nothing.more.we.could.have.done. Blaming us again is astonishingly cruel.

Without any apparent reflection the panel say that “the undisputed evidence before the panel is that it could be very difficult to engage with Patient 1″. Undisputed evidence. Just a quick reminder that these nurses are specialist learning disability nurses. All they could get was ‘a grunt and a nod’

‘It would appear’ appears throughout the document in defence of the nurses. In the following extract ‘it would appear there was limited additional information that could otherwise have been sought from the family’. How can they possibly make this judgement? One bit of evidence (that destroyed part of my already savaged heart) underlined how little understanding the panel (and nursing staff) had of LB:

In his oral evidence, Colleague B confirmed Patient 1’s fear of gangs of youths and his reluctance to go out alone.

He didn’t go out alone. He never had. This is a pretty substantial piece of information the nurses were missing.

We though (‘they’ ‘they’ ‘they’) could have/should have done more.

We visited too much (‘virtually every day’) and there is a juicy third hand suggestion that I was so difficult the unit had to introduce a telephone triage system to cope with me.

Venturing further into the realms of the absurd

The final example takes absurdity to a new level. Yep. It is possible.

One charge was that the nurses didn’t make a planned referral to the epilepsy nurse. It turns out the person they all thought was the epilepsy nurse (Miss 12), wasn’t. [I know]. With a palpable flourish, the panel dismiss the charge. There was no epilepsy nurse to refer to. Do you hear me? And this is a fact. A fact I tell you. The over-use of the word ‘fact’ in this paragraph kind of suggests the panel know they are on flaky ground.

I can almost sense weariness from Mr Hoskins (who I assume is the NMC barrister). Such twisted, twisted logic.

I got as far as p18/66 with this analysis. It continues in the same vein. Grim, biased, childish nonsense. I’m sickened that this could be considered to be of ‘proper professional standards’ in any way shape or form. When you add in the fact [yep] this has taken five years and during the interminable process the NMC shared our personal details with all six nurses and their counsels twice, it’s very clear this body ain’t fit for purpose.

15 thoughts on “The NMC and the fact free determination

  1. Okay Sara, what is the next step? A series of considered emails to the NMC to make some of the points you have made above. If so, perhaps in your next post you will supply a name and address, and, if there is an appeals process, some information about it. This is not acceptable from a professional standards body. I will help you in garnering support for a letters blizzard

  2. Sara: As you know, my son Martin has epilepsy (Lennox Gastaut syndrome). The knowledge and understanding of epilepsy throughout every professional strata is abyssmal, or totally non existant. Again and again in the Court of Protection I have stated “but that is his epilepsy” and been treated by the Judges with nothing other than hostility (penal noticce on me). For the last ten years the staff at his residential home in Wales have been forbidden to talk to me about Martin. I hold all his medical notes, with his permission. What you write is getting this out into the public domain. Janniewannie has the right idea, but is there an appeals process?

  3. I am sickened by the ‘them and us’ culture that exists in the medical world. ‘Them’ being the patients and their families who are often not listened to and ‘us’ being the professional medics.

    In your case Sara you are damned for visiting too much and would have been damned if you did not. They ignored your concerns about LB and yet they are now blaming you for speaking up. They are just running out of ideas of how to brush this under the carpet. You, thank God. Sara keep lifting the carpet and finding a load of shit.

  4. But how long ca u keep doing it?you can blitz with millions of letters it will do nothing.idont think anyone actually understands the cost of this unless they have been there so ignore some of the feedback. Considered does no enter into the vocabulary of these people

  5. I am even more dismayed now than I was when I attended a Tribunal on the 23, 24, and 25th of August on behalf of my late younger sister Robin. It was held in Manchester by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. I dare not comment now on the evidence I heard except to say that six years and three months after my sister died, and despite meeting for eight working days, the Tribunal could not reach a decision. They will reconvene on the 15th of November 2018.

  6. It’s a game of words.
    Lives are meaningless to them except for those of their own children. LB never mattered – he was just someone else’s son.
    ‘Kindness gives birth to kindness’ (Sophocles), so I don’t like to think what these sort of nurses give birth to.
    I know many nurses like these, and fewer who are decent – and there always will be decent ones.
    But for a professional body to reveal such low standards shows what a joke they think this is.

  7. I am so very, very sorry to read this. I am sorry as someone who was proud to be a registered nurse, someone who is a mother, and someone who can only begin to imagine all you have gone through. The report isn’t worthy of your analysis and yet in doing it you have highlighted how flawed it is – and worse. Sending you my very best x

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