Yesterday, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) launched a public petition in support of the nurse who was struck off after exposing poor patient care on the BBC’s Panorama programme. RCN member, Margaret Haywood was removed from the register of nurses by a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel, which means that she can no longer work as a nurse in the UK.
It is alleged that she photographed, secretly, evidence of the poor patient care on her hospital ward in Sussex and then supplied the photographs to the BBC and took part in the Panorama programme. She is reported to have tried all the proper channels first and to have resorted to taking the photographs etc. when all else failed to bring about improvements. She is also reported to have obtained permission from the patients or their families before allowing the photographs to be published.
Margaret Haywood has received numerous messages of support through the RCN since this matter came to light and also many sympathetic comments following online newpaper reports. She is also receiving legal representation through the RCN and her legal options are being considered.
I have been following this story with particular interest because it is not by any means the first in recent years involving poor nursing standards in the National Health Service and because one of my relatives suffered from a similar form of sheer negligence on the part of nursing staff some ten years ago in Liverpool. The problem is not uncommon and the various bureaucratic bodies, including the Department of Health, have done little or nothing that has improved matters over many years. Nurse Haywood is not the first “whistleblower”, even in recent times, as explained on the excellent blog by The Jobbing Doctor.
That the Nursing and Midwifery Council saw fit to bring Margaret Haywood’s career to a halt for actions which were, ultimately, intended to serve the interests of her patients, where all else had failed, is nothing short of ridiculous. The “panel” who made this decision have lost the plot and the lot of them should be put out to grass. Nurse Haywood should be reinstated, promoted and put in charge of nursing standards with the authority to overrule all those who have ignored the situation to date. She has been nursing for 25 years, just long enough to remember how things were done when patients were fed adequately, not left in agony for want of drugs, not in fear of their lives due to MRSA and C.Diff. and actually nursed – a word which is simply not understood by so many graduates from university lecture halls, and their “management”, whose impact in recent times on the once proud NHS has been an ever increasing disaster for all to see.
The Royal College of Nursing is encouraging fellow nurses and members of the public to show their support for Margaret Haywood in one of the following ways:
- Sign the online petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/online/27030.html or through the link on the RCN website: www.rcn.org.uk
- Join the Facebook group “Margaret Haywood – show your support for whistleblowing nurse“