Nurse struck off over failings in care of Stephen Hawking

The nurse faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she provided to Professor Hawking.

James McKay
12 March 2019
Professor Stephen Hawking

The Nursing and Midwifery Council held the Fitness to Practice hearing behind closed doors.

A nurse who spent 15 years caring for the renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking has been struck off the nursing register.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Fitness to Practice Panel ruled that Patricia Dowdy “failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved”.

Dowdy faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she provided to Professor Hawking, who died in March last year at the age of 76.

The NMC decided to hold the hearing behind closed doors as part of its bid to become a more understanding regulator.

‘Failed to provide the standard of care he deserved’.

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”.

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“As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practice 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.”

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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.”

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