A special message from RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter
Published: 20 April 2009
Last week, many of you will have seen extensive media coverage around RCN member Margaret Haywood who was removed from the nursing register for breaking patient confidentiality. Margaret took part in undercover filming as part of a BBC Panorama documentary in 2005 which exposed poor care at the Trust she worked at.
Margaret has been supported by the RCN since charges were brought in relation to her participation in the Panorama programme. Whilst the RCN cannot condone breaking patient confidentiality, we feel that the decision taken by the NMC to remove Margaret from the nursing register was unduly harsh.
The RCN would always encourage members to raise any concerns they may have about patient care with their employer in the first instance. However, if members do not feel able to do this for any reason then they should contact the RCN as a matter of urgency and we will take action on their behalf.
In consultation with Margaret, I am currently working with the RCN's Director of Legal Services, Chris Cox, and Margaret's barrister to look at the legal options around the NMC's decision. Although we are not able to make public the detail of these discussions at this stage, we are investigating what grounds there may be for an appeal. If an appeal does go ahead it will have to be lodged within 28 days of the NMC's decision to remove Margaret from the register.
In order to gauge the feeling around Margaret's removal from the register, the RCN has set up an online petition. This is open to anyone that would like to show their support for Margaret. Due to the fact that the petition is aimed at gathering views from the general public and the nursing profession, I don't feel that it would be appropriate for RCN staff members, myself included, to sign the petition. However, please be reassured that the RCN is vigorously defending Margaret and supporting her at this time.
The petition can be found at: www.gopetition.com/online/27030.html.
Chief Executive & General Secretary