The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) has decided to refer the case of Melanie Hayes to the High Court because it considers that the decision is insufficient to protect the public. This was a case concluded by way of a consensual panel determination – that is where the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the registrant provisionally agree a sanction which is then proposed to the panel. The panel considered the sanction proposed by the parties and the reasons given for reaching it and agreed that a sanction of six months’ suspension with review was appropriate.
After the hearing, the NMC wrote to the Authority setting out their concerns with the panel’s decision. They also shared letters from other bodies raising concerns about the sanction. As part of our process we considered these representations when reaching our own independent decision.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said:
“Following an internal NMC review of its independent panel’s fitness to practise decision in the case of nurse Melanie Hayes, we asked the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to consider exercising its power to refer the panel’s decision to the High Court.
“In light of the concerns that the decision was insufficient to protect the public, it’s right that the High Court consider this case.
“I know that the decision in this case has caused significant concern and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for that.
“We’re absolutely committed to learning from this case to ensure that we get it right when making decisions in cases concerning racism or any other form of discrimination.”
The NMC said as this case is now subject to court proceedings they were are unable to comment any further at this stage.