Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey accused of concealing high temperature during screening

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who was infected with the Ebola virus while volunteering in west Africa, is under investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council over her screening on returning to the UK.

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who was infected with the Ebola virus while caring for sick people in west Africa, has been accused of concealing her temperature during checks on her return to the UK.

Nurse Pauline Cafferky is now under investigation
Nurse Pauline Cafferkey (centre, back row) is under investigation by the NMC. Photo: Rex

It was revealed last February that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was investigating the Scottish nurse over alleged misconduct.

This followed Public Health England (PHE) passing information to the regulator regarding her screening at Heathrow Airport.

Concealing information

The charges against Ms Cafferkey were revealed today and they reportedly include that she intended to conceal from PHE staff that she had a temperature higher than 38 degrees.

The nurse is also said to have given incorrect responses on a screening form, allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded and left the PHE screening area without reporting her true temperature.

She also allegedly did not tell a doctor, while her temperature was being taken, that she had recently taken paracetamol.

Screening process

Healthcare workers who returned from volunteering in west Africa, such as Ms Cafferkey, were screened at points of entry into the UK, including looking for signs of raised temperatures which could indicate Ebola infection.

Ms Cafferkey returned to the UK from Sierra Leone in December 2014 and spent almost a month being treated in an isolation unit at London’s Royal Free Hospital after contracting Ebola.

She recovered but was re-admitted to hospital twice after suffering complications linked to the disease and was critically ill at one stage.

Hearing held

The NMC held a preliminary hearing in March last year at which it was decided Ms Cafferkey could continue to work while the investigation continued.

The investigation has not yet moved to a full hearing.

The nurse, who was honoured at the Pride of Britain awards, recently said that the investigation has been ‘very stressful’ and she was keen to have closure.

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