Update on High Court judgement: Muckamore Abbey Hospital


Clare Strickland, Deputy Director of Fitness to Practise, said:

“The High Court has decided that the interim orders for both of these cases should be removed at this time. However, the court directed, in light of new information we have received, that it would be appropriate to hold a new interim order hearing for the two cases. Mr Justice McAlinden considered this to be the fairest approach. We will arrange for the new hearing to take place as quickly as possible.”

“We will continue to work closely with the Trust and the Police Service of Northern Ireland on these matters.”

Read our previous response to this case.

Background to the cases

Concerns about patient safety at Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Northern Ireland were first raised in September 2017 and we received our first referral from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in December. Between December 2017 and January 2019, we had a total of ten referrals from the Trust which drew on a summary of evidence which is said to show the serious abuse of patients by nursing staff.

In light of the very serious public protection concerns and public interest in the case, we applied for and were granted interim suspension orders on nine of the ten nurses on the basis of evidence from the Trust.

The information we based the interim order applications on came from a summary of the CCTV footage. We have asked for the CCTV footage but we have not received it. We understand that the reasons for this is due to the ongoing police investigation. The interim order applications were presented before independent panels who decided to impose interim suspension orders.

Seven of the nurses appealed this decision and on Friday 8 February 2019, the High Court in Belfast lifted their suspension orders on the basis there was not enough evidence to keep them in place. We have asked for information from the Trust to determine our next steps.

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