A former director of nursing at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been cleared of any wrong-doing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Helen Moss took on the role at the scandal-hit trust in December 2006 and resigned from her job at the end of 2009.
HSJ’s sister title Nursing Times has learnt she has been cleared by an investigating committee at the NMC, which has deemed there was “no case to answer”.
Ms Moss was criticised by families and campaigners for not doing enough to tackle a shortage of nurses at the trust – one of the factors said to have contributed to poor care that led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths.
When she appeared before the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry, Ms Moss told Robert Francis QC that a report on staff shortages showed there were 120 vacancies, or 13 per cent of the workforce. However, this report was not shown to the trust’s board for fear it would put the organisation’s bid for foundation trust status at risk.
In her evidence, Ms Moss said it was difficult to recruit experienced nurses to the trust because it was a small hospital with no specialist services and few opportunities for career development.
As a result, she said most of the nurses recruited were straight out of university and this, combined with a low staff turnover, meant a lack of new ideas coming into the organisation.
She described a “closed culture” at the trust, but did apologise to patients and families who suffered poor care.
Julie Bailey, founder of the campaign group Cure the NHS, which helped expose poor care at the hospital, said she was “devastated” by the NMC’s decision.