Senior nurse 'told colleagues to keep quiet about concerns'

A senior nurse at an NHS hospital trust told a colleague not to share concerns about a surgeon, an NMC hearing has been told

A senior nurse at an NHS hospital trust instructed a colleague not to raise concerns about a surgeon who operated on the wrong finger of a patient, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing has been told.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust head of nursing for the surgical division Rachel Sansbury was allegedly told that the surgeon ‘did not know his right from his left’ at a meeting in 2014 following the incident.

The nurse was informed that the surgeon had been diagnosed with dyspraxia, a condition affecting motor coordination, the NMC fitness to practise hearing in London was told.

'Incision on wrong finger'

It was said that the surgeon had made an incision on the wrong finger of a patient he was operating on.

During the opening of the hearing, case presenter Michael Collis said that, on being told this, Ms Sansbury told colleague Anita Lowe that if she passed the information on, the surgeon would have to stop doing operations which would lead to waiting lists increasing.

Denies all charges

Ms Sansbury is accused of a total of five charges of asking colleagues to conceal or mispresent information. She denies all the charges.

The trust’s clinical governance manager Gail Gardiner said she was told by Ms Sansbury not to raise concerns outside the clinical governance team.

Ms Gardiner told the hearing of one concern regarding an older woman who was ‘put to sleep inadvertently’ in theatre, which was not properly looked into. 

'Told to back off'

She said she raised the issues with Ms Sansbury but was told to 'back off'.

Ms Gardiner also said Ms Sansbury was ‘aggressive’ during a meeting in October 2012 and said raising concerns outside the team was having a negative impact.

Wafa Shah, defending Ms Sansbury, said: ‘What she told you was that you can speak to people as long as it’s in confidence.’

Ms Gardiner said this discussion did not take place. 

The hearing continues and is expected to conclude on 29 July.


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