• Claire Murdoch considering asking trusts to do more stringent background checks
  • Has tightened checks at her own trust after discovering it had employed a nurse previously disciplined by NMC
  • Nurse was disciplined for falsifying the care plan of Matthew Leahy, who died in 2012

NHS England’s national director for mental health is considering asking trusts to reconsider their recruitment checks, after discovering her own trust had hired a nurse who previously falsified a care plan.

In correspondence, seen by HSJ, Claire Murdoch said she was thinking about asking all trusts to check nurses’ or doctors’ disciplinary history as part of their appointment process. This is not something they are currently required to do.

Ms Murdoch said she had implemented stricter processes at the organisation where she is chief executive, Central and North West London Mental Health Foundation Trust.

The trust recently found out that Naushad Nojeeb, who it had hired as a matron, was disciplined by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2016 for falsifying the care plan of Matthew Leahy, a young boy who died in an Essex mental health unit.

In her email, Ms Murdoch wrote: “Generally my trust has good, solid, processes and if this happened at CNWL, then it could happen anywhere.”

She added she was planning to discuss the issue with NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe. 

A CNWL spokesman told HSJ all candidates were now required to complete an employment declaration form, which requires them to disclose:

  • Any convictions they may have;
  • If they have been subject to police investigation;
  • Whether they have been dismissed; and
  • Whether they have been subject to action by a professional body.

Should a candidate tick yes to any of the above, the appointment must then be reviewed by a director. Previously, only candidates which showed convictions on their Disclosure and Barring Service check required a director’s review.

Last month, HSJ reported United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust had decided to stop hiring locum doctors who were subject to restrictions on their practice, after a non-executive director “raised concerns about the high number of doctors in the trust with [General Medical Council] restrictions”. At the time the concern was raised, the trust had nine locum doctors with GMC restrictions. 

Failures related to Mr Leahy’s death have been highlighted in a report from the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman, published earlier this year. Mr Leahy was found hanging in North Essex University Partnership FT’s Linden Centre in November 2012.

His mother, Melanie Leahy, has petitioned for a public inquiry. This has been backed by several MPs, including Labour MP Barbara Keeley, Liberal Democrat MP and former health minister Sir Norman Lamb, and home secretary Priti Patel.

HSJ Transforming Mental Health Summit

The HSJ Transforming Mental Health Summit, taking place at the Hilton Leeds from 28-29 November 2019, unites 120+ senior figures from across the NHS, local authority and wider mental health service delivery landscape to discuss how to realise the visions of the NHS long-term plan and ensure successful local implementation of national priorities.

Held under the Chatham House Rule, attendees will quiz Paul Farmer and other national figures on general policy direction and co-develop solutions to their local challenges with NHS and local government colleagues from across the country. The summit is free to attend for senior NHS and public sector figures.

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