Health minister backs Panorama's whistleblower nurse

A government minister has criticised the decision to strike off of a nurse who went undercover for the BBC’s Panorama to expose poor hospital standards.

Margaret Haywood, 58, was removed from the nursing register last month after the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practise panel found her guilty of misconduct.

She had secretly filmed neglect of elderly patients at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for a Panorama documentary which was screened in July 2005.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has offered to support an appeal. Chief executive Peter Carter said: “The decision to remove Margaret from the professional register was unduly harsh and we are considering making an appeal.”

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said yesterday that he agreed the RCN’s decision, during a Westminster Hall adjournment debate on whistleblowing.

He told MPs: “The Royal College of Nursing has said it will support her in any appeal and has made clear that it thinks, given the range of sanctions available, the decision to strike Mrs Haywood off was unduly harsh.

“Having studied the report myself and considered the wider implications of the ruling on our whistleblowing policy, I have to say I agree with the RCN’s position on this case.”

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