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NMC asks own regulator to review controversial FtP ruling

Melanie Hayes was not struck off after using racially offensive language about colleagues

Mental health nurse Melanie Hayes was not struck off after using racially offensive language about colleagues

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has asked its own regulator to review a controversial ruling not to strike off a nurse who made racial slurs about her colleagues.

Mental health nurse Melanie Hayes was suspended from the NMC register for six months following a fitness to practise (FtP) hearing on 10 May.

Hearing report details racially offensive comments

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

Mental health nurse Melanie Hayes was not struck off after using racially offensive language about colleagues

Picture: Barney Newman

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has asked its own regulator to review a controversial ruling not to strike off a nurse who made racial slurs about her colleagues.

Mental health nurse Melanie Hayes was suspended from the NMC register for six months following a fitness to practise (FtP) hearing on 10 May.

Hearing report details racially offensive comments

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

A hearing report details how Ms Hayes said on her last working day at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2018 that her new job would be ‘better than this one as I will be working with a team of white people’.

On another occasion she was found to have referred to colleagues as ‘spear chuckers’ while working at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2021.

‘There is no place for racism in health and care’

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe
Andrea Sutcliffe

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the regulator shared concerns about the reasons given for the decision in the case.

‘I recognise and understand the concern that our decision in this case has caused and I am sorry for that. We will be carrying out further work to consider wider learning arising from this case,’ she said.

‘There is no place for racism in health and care and I am absolutely committed to making positive changes as we play our part in tackling institutional discrimination in all its forms.’

FtP panel said a striking off order would be 'unduly punitive'

Ms Hayes, who did not attend the virtual hearing, had previously admitted the facts of the case.

In reaching its decision, The FtP panel said Ms Hayes’ previously unblemished career was a mitigating factor and that it considered a striking off order would be ‘unduly punitive’.

The PSA must decide on the NMC referral within 66 days of the original ruling, meaning a decision is expected by mid-July.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust said it was fully committed to equality and inclusion: ‘The trust will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour of any kind and will take action against any colleague who makes racist remarks of this nature.’


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