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Helen Lockett will not be struck off after NMC ruling deemed ‘adequate’

Nursing and Midwifery Council’s 12-month suspension widely criticised as being too lenient
Helen Lockett

Nursing and Midwifery Councils controversial 12-month suspension of former Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust nurse director Helen Lockett was widely criticised as being too lenient

A controversial decision to suspend rather than strike off a nurse director who bullied staff will stand after the Nursing and Midwifery Councils (NMC) appeal to its own regulator found the sanction to be sufficient.

In February, Helen Lockett, former director of operations and executive nurse at the now-defunct Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, was suspended from the register for 12 months after it was proved she bullied staff and failed to act on patient safety.

Helen Lockett's 12-month suspension for bullying assessed by independent panel

The NMC had sought the more serious penalty of having Ms

Nursing and Midwifery Council’s controversial 12-month suspension of former Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust nurse director Helen Lockett was widely criticised as being too lenient 


Former nurse director Helen Lockett is on a 12-month suspension for bullying and failure to act on patient safety

A controversial decision to suspend rather than strike off a nurse director who bullied staff will stand after the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) appeal to its own regulator found the sanction to be sufficient.

In February, Helen Lockett, former director of operations and executive nurse at the now-defunct Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, was suspended from the register for 12 months after it was proved she bullied staff and failed to act on patient safety.

Helen Lockett's 12-month suspension for bullying assessed by independent panel

The NMC had sought the more serious penalty of having Ms Lockett struck off from the nursing register, but its independent fitness to practise (FtP) panel found that a 12-month suspension was sufficient.

After that decision, the NMC, which does not have the power to reopen cases, referred the case to its regulator, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which can appeal cases in the High Court.

Professional Standards Authority says case will not be reviewed by the High Court

After an investigation, the PSA has revealed the case will not be referred to the High Court as it deemed the original suspension adequate to protect the public.

NMC deputy director of fitness to practise Clare Strickland said the regulator respected the PSA decision.

‘This means Ms Lockett will be unable to practise as a nurse for the duration of the suspension,’ she said.

‘The sanction will be reviewed before the end of the 12-month period.’

Ms Strickland also said the NMC was looking forward to the PSA releasing the reasons for its decision.

NMC came under fire for its initial decision which has now been upheld

The decision not to remove Ms Lockett from the register was heavily criticised earlier this year.

Labour MP for West Lancashire Rosie Cooper, who referred Ms Lockett to the NMC because of the poor care a relative had received, was one of those critics, calling for the regulator to be disbanded for the decision made.

In response to the PSA’s decision, Ms Cooper said: ‘I am at a loss on how the regulatory bodies tasked with upholding the true values of the NHS continue to fail the patients and nurses who were caused so much misery by Ms Lockett.

‘This decision will frighten every good, decent hard-working nurse.’

In February, the FtP panel found Ms Lockett was responsible for bullying staff and a range of management failings that compromised patient safety.

However, in its findings, the FtP panel said it was not in the public interest to permanently remove 'such an experienced and respected nurse' from practice.

The PSA will publish the full reasons for its decision next week.

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