Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s NMC hearing begins

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey faces Nursing and Midwifery Council inquiry over her return to the UK with the virus.
Pauline Cafferkey

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey is facing a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing linked to her return to the UK with the virus.

The case of the voluntary aid nurse, who was infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone in December 2014, will be heard at a fitness to practise hearing in Edinburgh today and tomorrow.

It is not known whether Ms Cafferkey will attend and details of the charges against her have not yet been published by the NMC.

Draft charges

But in draft charges that emerged last month, the nurse was accused of concealing her temperature during checks on her return to the UK from the West Africa, and was alleged to have given dishonest answers to medical staff during screening at Heathrow.

The NMC’s draft alleged Ms Cafferkey allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded on 29 December 2014 and intended to conceal from Public Health England screening staff that she had a temperature above 38˚C. It was claimed she did not tell staff who took her temperature at the airport that she had recently taken paracetamol, and that she left the area without reporting her true temperature.


Ms Cafferkey travelled to Sierra Leone at the height of the Ebola epidemic to work with stricken communities there. She had been working as a public health nurse at Blantyre Health Centre outside Glasgow.

She returned to London and then travelled on to Scotland before being diagnosed with the virus. She spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free Hospital in London. 

Ms Cafferkey recovered but was re-admitted to hospital on two occasions after experiencing complications, and at one stage was critically ill.

‘Very stressful’

In July, Ms Cafferkey spoke of the stress of facing misconduct allegations more than 18 months on from her return to the UK.

She told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘I don’t know why it has not been finished. It’s very stressful. It would be nice to have closure.’

After details of the draft charges emerged in August, an NMC spokesperson said: ‘Since the NMC’s case examiners considered the allegations and drafted charges, we have received further evidence.

‘The final charges will be determined in light of this new material.’

Ms Cafferkey said the NMC apologised for releasing the allegations on its website in advance of the hearing.

She told the BBC: ‘I would very much hope that after the case has been considered by the panel the matter will be at an end.’