Are six nurses dead due to bullying, racism and incompetence?

Are six nurses dead due to bullying, racism and incompetence?

It seems Wes Streeting has more to worry about than doctors’ pay. Are six nurses dead due to bullying, racism and incompetence?

That seems to be the conclusion from an independent review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which is responsible for ensuring that hundreds of thousands of nurses and midwives are safe to deal with patients.

It describes a “toxic culture” of “bullying, racism and incompetence” – as reported by the BBC.

But the Corporation’s article buries what seems to This Writer to be the most damning indictment.

After reporting that the review says good nurses are put under investigation for years over minor issues, while bad nurses escape sanction, the report states:

In the past year, six nurses have killed themselves while under investigation by the NMC.

How has this been allowed to happen?

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A glance at some of the other findings – as reported by the BBC – should clarify matters:

The NMC had commissioned former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal and Rise Associates to independently look at its culture, after a whistleblower alleged it was failing to tackle serious sexual, physical and racial abuse.

Everything the whistleblower documented was corroborated and many of the more than 1,000 current and former NMC colleagues the review heard from – along with over 200 panel members who sit on fitness-to-practise hearings – had had similar experiences in recent years.

NMC staff feel stressed, frustrated and unsupported.

The review found dysfunction across “virtually every level” of the NMC.

It heard of staff on antidepressants, with their hair falling out and unable to sleep because of bullying and bad management.

The organisation has a massive backlog, with nearly 6,000 fitness-to-practise cases yet to review, meaning some nurses, patients and families wait years for a decision.

The review also highlights cases that were “dropped” because alleged incidents occurred outside of the workplace, with one NMC lawyer telling the review team: “Racism cases are dropped in screening because it’s outside of the workplace and the view is, and I’m obviously paraphrasing, that ‘people are free to be racist in their own time’ because they are not involving patients.”

The NMC has said it was “profoundly sorry” and fully accepted the recommendations for urgent change.

But will those changes really happen? If there is a toxic culture in this organisation, how many of those responsible will face punishment?

And how many will cover up for themselves – and possibly others – and carry on as normal? In short – how will justice be done?


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2 Comments

  1. Valerie j Matthews July 9, 2024 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    These are the dead ones! My neice a great nurse, has tried to take her own life several times since Covid and the Tories’ treatment and lack of care for her and many others!

  2. Valerie j Matthews July 9, 2024 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Forgot to check! excuse mis type due to arthritic hands should read ‘great’ nurse’ times!

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