London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Marie Needham
|- and -
|The Nursing and Midwifery Council
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited, 190 Fleet Street
London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7421 4040, Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Robert Lawson (instructed by Penningtons Solicitors) for the Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Newman :
REASONS FOR DECISION
i) whether the Committee's decision to remove her name from the Register was excessive;
ii) whether the Committee erred in failing to question her in respect of her current knowledge of drugs and drug administration;
iii) whether the committee failed to give adequate reasons for its decision.
i) at all material times when the admissions had been made the appellant was acting under duress;
ii) that the facts to which she had admitted and misconduct she had accepted were in substance and content insufficient to found the charges.
i) the admissions had been made in circumstances where there was no evidence to support a finding of duress. Further, her husband had been privy to her admissions and obviously he had not concluded she was unfit to make them. Yet further, she had the benefit of counsel;
ii) the admissions had been repeated and consistent and her evidence to the Committee was clear, unequivocal and candid.
I concluded that she was attempting to withdraw the admissions because, rather than being cautioned, she had been removed from the register.
i) Her good conduct prior to her arrival at Salisbury Ward.
ii) Her dependence on support from senior nursing staff in undertaking the more onerous responsibilities of being a nurse on an acute ward.
iii) The stress from which she was suffering at the material time which contributed to the commission of the acts of misconduct in question.
iv) Her conduct since 27 January 2000 and in particular her current conduct in connection with the administration of drugs in a home for adults with learning disabilities.
v) The evidence of an independent witness, Rosemary Hamilton, who had assessed her current level of conduct in connection with the administration of drugs.
vi) Testimonials from her present employer and others.
vii) Evidence that she had undergone treatment for her stress and stress management.
"We have put evidence forward today of her competence to practise in relation to the administration of medicines in her current area……we have shown that Marie Needham is competent at the core competences of drug administration."
He concluded by submitting:
"When you consider her fitness to practise today I respectfully ask all those matters to be taken into consideration. It is quite clear there might have been a time when she was not fit to practise, but in my submission that has now passed."
"First we considered whether to postpone judgment and we decided that postponement was not appropriate in your case.
The committee has decided to remove your name from the register with immediate effect.
In arriving at this decision the committee has listened carefully to the information put before the committee in mitigation and having taken this into account we consider that your fitness to practice on Part 12 of the Register is still impaired.
The reasons for removal are that you have manifestly failed to promote the interests of individual patients and clients and have also failed to justify public trust and confidence."
The Adequacy of the Reasons
i) Whether sufficient reasons have been given will depend upon the particular circumstances of the case.
ii) That resort may be had to the transcript of the hearing (See Gupta v General Medical Council  1 WLR 1691), particularly where the transcript will reveal which evidence the committee accepted and which it rejected. (See Wickramsinghe v United Kingdom  EHRLR 338)
iii) That a general explanation of the basis for the determination on the questions of serious professional misconduct and of penalty will normally be sufficient. (Selvanathan v GMC  Lloyds' Rep Med 1)
iv) That the fact that an appellant had not been prejudiced by the failure to give reasons was irrelevant. (Brabazon-Drenning v United Kingdom Central Council  HRLR 6)
v) That reasons need not elaborate nor be lengthy but should be such as to tell the parties in broad terms why the decision was reached.