Following the Professional Standards Authority’s refusal to refer the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s decision in relation to the case of the disgraced Liverpool Community Health Trust Nursing Director Helen Lockett to the High Court, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“I am astounded at the decision the Professional Standards Authority have made not to refer Helen Lockett’s case to the High Court.
“I am at a loss as to how the regulatory bodies tasked with upholding the true values of the National Health Service continue to fail the patients and nurses who were caused so much misery by Ms Lockett.
“Despite the Nursing and Midwifery Council themselves suggesting that the PSA should exercise their power to appeal to the High Court, this has not been done.
“It effectively means there is no professional regulation any more as no one will fear regulation by their professional body – that their decisions can cause harm, that they can bully, mislead and drive their subordinates to the point of contemplating suicide and despite all that the likelihood of being struck off is in reality non-existent.
“Although Ms Lockett was found guilty of 34 charges, the PSA seem to suggest that it was the culture which was to blame…The “I was only following orders” defence should not and did not work at The Hague but seems acceptable in the NHS.
“Do Trust Boards (of which she was an Executive Member) not set that culture? Virtually everything ever written (but evidently not read by the PSA) says that is the case. More to the point, if Ms Lockett really wasn’t happy and felt pressured to behave in the way she claims, why did she not whistleblow on the serious harms occurring to staff and patients?
“It would appear that the PSA have carefully and meticulously torn the NMC to shreds over several pages, only to bizarrely reach the conclusion at the end that their flawed decision should be left unchanged.
“I believe they will be as ashamed of their decision as I am now, when Bill Kirkup’s review is completed and the Liverpool people will have had their say after the details of the 43,000 untoward incidents and 150 deaths are investigated, as well as the 3,000 duties of candour which were never delivered.
“This decision will frighten every good, decent hard working nurse. It is simply a disgrace! It should petrify the public who fund our NHS services to know that at the end of the day, they can be harmed by errant disregard for their safety and it is only luck, whistleblowers and the media who can deliver justice.
“It is time that both these regulatory bodies faced an overhaul. They are, rather amazingly, part of the problem.”