Sunday, 19 April 2009

Margaret Haywood

The registration of nurses is a condition which protects patients and ensures that only nurses registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council are allowed to practise. This condition guarantees a safe and reliable nursing profession.

The existence of this Council is to our great benefit and prevents the employment of unqualified and charlatan nurses who, without this safeguard, could otherwise endanger the health, and indeed the life, of those vulnerable and sick; particularly post operative patients and those in critical conditions.

However, in the case of Margaret Haywood whose recent actions of whistleblowing and allowing a TV programme, namely Panorama, to film the dire conditions of apparent neglect of elderly patients in care homes, it would appear that the Council has acted AGAINST the interests of those whom it should be protecting.

There is a fine line here between someone breaking a disciplinary code out of mischievousness, neglect or malice, and one flouting the rules because their conscience and concern for those patients in their care demand that they do so. Margaret Haywood quite clearly had the welfare and well-being of her patients at heart and it was a brave action on her part to put her own job at risk.

Technically, she may have been wrong, and, in the view of the Council, guilty of misconduct but surely this is a case where a discretionary and compassionate caution should have been applied.

How many people must suffer and in the case of the elderly sick, in fear and loneliness before anyone raises a hand to help them.

The Council have displayed a great lack of intelligence in their unrelenting attitude. Hamfistedness is a term which springs to mind. This is one instance where the Council should have initiated some investigation so that the well-being of patients is paramount; where a liberal and benevolent conclusion should have been reached, not solely governed by the code which was in place originally to protect those unable to protect themselves.

Margaret Haywood deserves to be reinstated and the Council will be doing themselves a great favour by acting to redress the great wrong they have committed. Patients must come first not codes, in this case thoroughly misapplied.

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