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Nurse takes NMC to court to help whistleblowers & restore her reputation

Sarah J

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A nurse is taking the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) to court to fight for the rights of fellow whistleblowers and to restore her reputation.

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Vasanta Suddock, a Nurse from Devon, told the NursingTimes that she thinks the NMC‘s disciplinary process is significantly weighted against whistleblowers and is now taking the regulator to court for ruining her professional reputation.

Ms Suddock was the matron of a care home when it fell into administration. During the liquidation process she raised concerns around the way the home was run. She claims the organisation made a string of false allegations against her which saw her referred to the NMC.

She was subsequently removed from the nursing register for professional misconduct in 2015.

However, unhappy with the outcome of the trial she took it to the high court. Justice Andrews ruled there was evidence of a “conspiracy” to ruin her reputation and the NMC’s decision was set aside.

She is now seeking damaged of £500,000 for lost income and damages to her professional reputation.

A preliminary hearing date has been set for 30th of June 2017.

Ms Suddock says her primary concern is that nurses who make the decision to whistle-blow will not be protected despite acting in their patients best interests.

The NMC confirmed it knew about the case but refused to comment further; “We can confirm that we have received Ms Suddock’s claim and we are defending it”.  “As such, it isn’t appropriate for us to comment because the court proceedings are live”.

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NMC says regulation for nursing associates moves a step closer

James M

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say regulation for nursing associates is getting closer and is expected by July 2018.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has welcomed the Department of Health’s consultation on proposed changes to its legislation to enable the regulation of nursing associates.

The consultation follows the decision of the NMC’s Council to agree to regulate the new role, following a request from the Secretary of State for Health in January 2017.

Earlier this month the NMC released it’s draft standards of proficiency for Nursing Associates.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“This consultation is a vital step towards the NMC becoming the regulator of nursing associates.

“It’s always been our ambition to open the register to nursing associates in January 2019, when the first trainees qualify. But in order to do so, it’s critical that Government drives through the necessary changes to our legislation, to ensure that we’re able to protect the public from the moment the first qualified nursing associates begin to practise.”

The NMC expects the necessary changes to its legislation to come into force by July 2018. This will give the regulator six months until the first trainees qualify to complete the activities that need to be in place in order to open the register. This includes approving the NMC’s Rules and fees, approval of the final nursing associate standards and approval of nursing associates programme providers.

The consultation, Regulation of Nursing Associates in England, will run from 16 October to 26 December.

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Snacks sold in hospital shops should be under 250 calories

James M

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Image: Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England says snacks sold in hospitals canteens or shops should all be under 250 calories.

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NHS Hospitals will be given cash incentives to comply with a new ‘healthy eating’ campaign which will see a significant reduction in the number of sugary snacks, drinks and confectionary inside hospital shops and canteens.

The proposals will also extend to sandwiches, which must be under 400 calories, and all other pre-packed savoury meals, which should contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Cans and bottles of sugary soft drinks are also covered by the ban, as well as sugary drinks made in cafes and canteens such as coffees with sugar syrup.

Hospital chiefs will need to ensure that 80% of items sold do not exceed the 250-calorie limit in order to receive the cash bonus.

It is unknown if this ban will extend to third-party organisations such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks.

Research has suggested that almost 700,000 of 1.3 million NHS employees are overweight or obese.

Last year, controversial expert hypnotist Steve Miller said healthcare professionals should lead the fight against the fat and wants overweight NHS staff to carry ‘I’m fat, but I’m losing it’ badges to inspire patients and colleagues.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:

“The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the super-size snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer. “In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

NHS England has pledged to boost the sale of healthy foods and end promotions of sugary and fatty or salty foods at checkouts.

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