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Nurse struck off after High Court overturns original NMC decision

Nurse Melanie Hayes has been struck off for racial slurs after the High Court overturned original Nursing and Midwifery Council decision to only suspend her

Nurse Melanie Hayes has been struck off for racial slurs after the High Court overturned original Nursing and Midwifery Council decision to only suspend her

A mental health nurse who made racial slurs about her colleagues has been struck off following a High Court appeal.

NMC referred the case to regulators after original fitness to practise decision

The High Court overturned a controversial decision to only suspend Melanie Hayes – who referred to colleagues as ‘spear chuckers’ – from the register for six months.

Ms Hayes made the slurs while working at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2012.

Nurse Melanie Hayes has been struck off for racial slurs after the High Court overturned original Nursing and Midwifery Council decision to only suspend her

Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice in London, home of the High Court and the Court of Appeal
Royal Courts of Justice in London, home of the High Court and the Court of Appeal Picture: iStock

A mental health nurse who made racial slurs about her colleagues has been struck off following a High Court appeal.

NMC referred the case to regulators after original fitness to practise decision

The High Court overturned a controversial decision to only suspend Melanie Hayes – who referred to colleagues as ‘spear chuckers’ – from the register for six months.

Ms Hayes made the slurs while working at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2012.

And on her last working day at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2018, she said that her new job would be ‘better than this one as I will be working with a team of white people’.

In May, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) asked its own regulator to review the controversial decision made by a fitness to practise panel.

The NMC, which cannot reopen cases once a decision has been made, referred the matter to its own regulator, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which appealed the decision at the High Court.

NMC says it is committed to learning from the case

This week the High Court approved a consent order to overturn the original suspension. The order had been agreed by the NMC, PSA and Ms Hayes, who had previously admitted the facts of the case.

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the regulator was ‘committed to learning’ from the case, and was ensuring suitable training is in place to help hearing panels reach the right decision in cases concerning racism.

‘I’m very sorry that our original decision wasn’t the right one, and I know how much concern that caused,’ she added.

‘I hope people feel reassured that by recognising this and referring our decision to the PSA, we’ve now reached an appropriate outcome, with the High Court deciding that Ms Hayes should be removed from the register.’

Concerns should be investigated and addressed properly

In a statement, the PSA said there was ‘no place for racism’ within society: ‘We want anyone who has been the subject of racism by a healthcare professional to feel able to raise a concern and know that it will be investigated and addressed properly.’

Earlier this week, Nursing Standard reported how growing numbers of nurses and midwives are being referred to the NMC amid allegations of racism.

Data obtained from the NMC by Nursing Standard show 75 nurses and midwives were referred to the regulator for race discrimination in 2020, up from just four in 2015.


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