NMC announces fitness to practise hearing outcome involving former nurse of Professor Stephen Hawking

12 March 2019

Following conclusion of today’s (Tuesday 12 March) independent panel hearing, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is able to confirm Patricia Dowdy, a registered nurse, has been struck off our register.

Mrs Dowdy had faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she was providing to Professor Stephen Hawking – including, financial misconduct; dishonesty; not providing appropriate care; failing to cooperate with the NMC and not having the correct qualifications.

Commenting on the conclusion of this case hearing, Matthew McClelland, Director of Fitness to Practise at the NMC, said:

The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.

“As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practise as a nurse.

“As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this – where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise – we will take action.

“We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them - as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking’s death – and others for sharing their concerns with us. My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.   

“As the regulator, we will always listen when concerns about the fitness of nurses, midwives or nursing associates are raised with us so that we can investigate further for the benefit of everyone involved.”

A spokesperson for the Hawking family said:

“They had complete confidence in the NMC, and their thorough investigation, and trusted they would come to an independent conclusion based on the facts in the case.”


Notes to Editors

  • Information on the panel’s decision to hold this hearing in private and details of the outcome will be available in the ‘reasons document’ on the hearings page shortly.
  • A website blog – about how and why the NMC make decisions to sometimes hold case hearings in private - written by Andrea Sutcliffe, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar. 
  • Further information about the NMC’s fitness to practise processes can be found on our website.