NMC statement on the outcome of nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s fitness to practise hearing

Published on 14 September 2016

Independent panel finds Ms Cafferkey's actions did not amount to misconduct

Following an NMC fitness to practise hearing which concluded today, an independent panel has found that nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s actions did not amount to misconduct.

During the process of preparing for the hearing, the NMC received additional medical information relating to Ms Cafferkey. As a result, the NMC agreed that there was no dishonesty on the part of Ms Cafferkey.

While Ms Cafferkey accepted that she allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded on her screening form and left the screening area without alerting anyone to her elevated temperature, the panel concluded that her actions could only be explained by her developing illness and state of exhaustion and therefore found that there was no misconduct.

The panel chair commented:

"It was inconceivable that she would leave the safe environment of the Public Health England screening area but for the fact that she was already seriously ill. The panel therefore concluded that her judgement had already been significantly impaired involuntarily."

Commenting on the outcome, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Jackie Smith, said:

"As the independent panel recognised, the NMC has an overarching duty to protect the health and wellbeing of the public and need to ensure the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.

"The referral from Public Health England showed a highly unusual set of circumstances that clearly required a thorough and proper investigation. In circumstances like this, it is right for an independent panel to hear all the evidence to decide if any action is required."

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