Case Study: self-litigating midwife successfully appeals

Sep 30, 2021 | Case Studies

This midwife was struck off the nursing register at a hearing of the NMC panel from October to November 2018. This was following an acquittal in the criminal courts and the pursuit of the case by her previous employers.

We supported her with another organisation The Midwives Haven, giving her mentoring and advice as well as our input on the legal aspects of the NMC decision-making that we may have been able to be challenged at appeal.

She successfully appealed as a self-litigant and was able to get the strike off replaced with Justice Kerr outlining:

  1. For all the reasons I have given the appeal is allowed to the following limited extent already indicated (see paragraph [126] above):  
  2. The appeal is allowed, and the decision to strike off the appellant from the Register is quashed.  
  3. The case is remitted to the Fitness to Practise Committee, for the charges to be re-heard by a differently constituted Panel, in accordance with the following directions of the Court. 
    1. Schedule 1 to the charges shall be amended to delete all reference to Patients D, E, F and G 
    2. No evidence shall be admitted in relation to Patients D, E, F and G,  and all reference to those patients shall be deleted from the witness statements and other documents placed before the Panel.  

All sanctions were quashed relating to 4 patients, with recommendations that charges relating to the further 3 patients be heard by a different panel for rehearing, however, the judge gave strong recommendations that these should also be quashed.
Judge Spencer was highly critical of both the local trust investigation and the NMC’s conduct.

The full judgement can be read here.

She then returned to the NMC for the hearing in which she was represented by the Royal College of Midwives. We continued to support her with peer-to-peer mentorship as well as attending the hearing with her as observers.

At this second hearing, the NMC put a 6-month suspension in place which again she appealed at the High Court with our support, as a self-litigant. At this appeal Judge Linden ordered the charge into patient C should be quashed but agreed a sanction should have been imposed as the panel still found dishonesty present. This judge also stated that even with patient C’s allegations quashed that a 6-month suspension should not have been imposed. This was therefore replaced with a four-and-a-half-month suspension order.

On review of this suspension order in December 2020 the panel failed to adjourn on request of the midwife’s ill health and imposed another 6-month suspension – the hearing was then heard in March 2021. She appeared as a self-litigant and the NMC panel determined that the order should lapse on expiry effectively allowing her to return to the register finally.

The midwife showed incredible resilience and did not give up – despite the huge hurdles in front of her. She did so because she knew what the truth was and was determined to prove it. We supported and guided her, but ultimately she did a lot of the work herself and for that, we are incredibly proud to have been part of her journey.

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