A High Court judge has granted a last minute injunction to stop former Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust chief nurse Jan Harry from leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

Ms Harry’s registration with the NMC was due to lapse on Thursday after she decided not to pay the annual registration fee, meaning she would be removed from the register and further disciplinary action could not be taken.

To prevent her from removing herself from the register the Professional Standards Authority today asked the High Court to impose an interim suspension order against her as an emergency injunction.

She was found guilty last month of misconduct by a fitness to practise panel for putting patients at risk and failing to ensure adequate numbers of staff were employed at the trust where she worked between 1998 and 2006.

Ms Harry, who has retired, was handed a five year caution order which is now the subject of an appeal by the Professional Standards Authority which claimed it was “too lenient”.

As a result of today’s injunction Ms Harry is now unable to remove herself from the NMC register until the PSA’s appeal against her sanction is dealt with.

She could be permanently struck off or have her case returned to the NMC fitness to practise procedure for reconsideration by a new panel.

Harry Cayton, chief executive of the PSA, said: “We are pleased the High Court has taken the action we asked for to ensure that Ms Harry remains on the NMC’s register until our appeal has been heard. This will ensure that our power to challenge fitness to practise panel decisions is not frustrated in this case.”

It is the second time in three months the PSA has requested an emergency injunction to prevent a nurse subject to an appeal by the PSA from leaving the NMC register.

In August the PSA sought a similar injunction against a nurse to stop her from leaving the register. The case was ultimately sent back to the NMC for a new fitness to practise panel.

Mr Cayton added: “This is the second time in three months we have had to ask the High Court to intervene to take this type of action in relation to an NMC panel decision, and we will be writing to the secretary of state - as the judge asked us to - to ask for urgent action to amend the NMC’s legislation so that this does not keep happening.”