The Professional Standards Authority is to review the Nursing and Midwifery Council and General Medical Council’s handling of alleged misconduct cases relating to Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust staff, HSJ has discovered.
The PSA, which oversees the work of the professional regulators, has instructed the GMC and NMC to supply it with cases involving doctors and nurses from the scandal hit trust which were dealt with and closed at an early stage.
The revelation comes after it emerged the PSA has launched a High Court appeal against the decision of an NMC fitness to practise panel to impose a five year caution order against former Mid Staffordshire chief nurse Jan Harry on the grounds it was “too lenient”.
Ms Harry was found guilty of putting patients in danger by failing to ensure there were adequate numbers of nurses. The panel’s decision not to strike her off the register was raised with the PSA by the NMC itself.
The PSA does not have the power to appeal early decisions taken by the watchdogs but has confirmed it will audit actions they have taken and publish a report on its findings in the new year.
The prime minister expressed his anger at the failures to hold individuals to account for failures at Mid Staffordshire following the publication of the Francis report in February.
The PSA’s action follows the announcement by the GMC in September that it was dropping the cases against four senior doctors, including two former medical directors, who worked at Mid Staffordshire during the time hundreds of patients suffered poor care and neglect.
The decision meant the doctors would not appear before a fitness to practise panel.
In February the NMC also revealed an investigating committee had ruled there was “no case to answer” against former Mid Staffordshire nursing director Helen Moss who was criticised by Robert Francis QC for taking too long to act when she knew there were problems at the trust.
Christine Braithwaite, PSA director of standards and policy, said: “Our power is limited to reviewing decisions delivered at the final fitness to practise hearings.
“However, we do audit the cases dealt with at the investigating stage and we are auditing the Nursing and Midwifery Council and General Medical Council. We have asked for cases relating to Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust to be included in the sample of cases and will publish a report from our audit in the new year.”