Midwife in baby death scandal ‘brought profession into disrepute’

Senior midwife who admitted misconduct after failing to pass on information about shortcomings in care has been removed from the NMC register.

A senior midwife at the centre of a baby death scandal has been told she ‘brought the profession into disrepute’ as she was removed from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.

Jeanette Parkinson, the former maternity risk manager at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, admitted misconduct in relation to ‘inadequate’ reviews into the deaths of two mothers and four babies.

‘Unwarranted’ risk

Between 2008 and 2009, Ms Parkinson did not inform the health authorities about a number of shortcomings in the care of patients who later died, an NMC misconduct hearing heard.

In several cases, neither the quality of care nor the standard of midwifery was further scrutinised, after Ms Parkinson failed to pass on information about the incidents.

This failure meant expectant mothers and their babies faced ‘unwarranted’ risk in the future, the NMC committee found. It said on Tuesday that Ms Parkinson should no longer be allowed to practise.

Committee chair Matthew Fiander said: ‘The public place trust and confidence not only in individual midwives but also in senior midwives to support junior colleagues, to hold them to account, and to properly manage clinical risk.

‘In failing to adhere to these expectations, Ms Parkinson has brought the profession into disrepute.’

Failed to follow up

An inquiry in 2015 found a ‘lethal mix’ of failures at the trust led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother between 2004 and 2013.

The oversights Ms Parkinson failed to follow up included staff forgetting to monitor an unborn baby’s heart rate and an inadequate 32-week review of an expectant mother, who later died.

The NMC hearing heard Ms Parkinson also ‘inappropriately’ advised the local supervising authority not to take action against a colleague involved in the care of a baby who died of sepsis.

Ms Parkinson is the seventh midwife to be investigated by the NMC over the scandal; two others were also removed from the register and another was suspended.

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘As an organisation we are reflecting on what can be done to make sure cases do not take so long to conclude in future.’

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