Nurse 'Did Not Care' If Seriously Ill Patient Died

Care Failures Of Leeds Nurse Highlighted In Investigation

14.10.2014

Beatrice McDowall-Phillips, a nurse based in Leeds, stated that she 'did not care' whether or not a seriously ill patient died, an investigative panel has heard.

Mrs McDowall-Phillips was working at the Ashlands Care Home in the Methley area of Leeds, which specialises in providing care for patients with dementia, when she reportedly made the remark in January.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been investigating these claims, with a fitness to practise hearing taking place last week.

An NMC panel heard that Mrs McDowall-Phillips reportedly said: "She won't take her tablets. I don't care if she dies. If she dies, she dies.

"She's starving herself anyway and she's going to be dead soon," or words to a similar effect.

Ashlands Care Home currently looks after around 40 dementia sufferers and the patient on the receiving end of these comments was reportedly seriously ill and confined to her bed.

A witness who provided evidence to the NMC stated that the patient in question looked "upset" following Mrs McDowall-Phillips' remarks, suggesting that she had heard them clearly.

This was the nurse's first role in the profession and the panel heard that she reportedly swore at the patient in response to offensive comments regarding her race.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that Mrs McDowall-Phillips was told by the NMC: "The panel went on to consider whether a suspension order was the appropriate sanction and was satisfied that such an order was disproportionate in the overall circumstances of this case."

However, the investigation did find that her actions had been significantly below the standard expected and she will now have to work under close supervision at all times.

In addition, Mrs McDowall-Phillips will need to have regular meetings with her line manager for the next year, while the NMC must be notified within two weeks of any further roles she takes on in either nursing or midwifery.

Expert Opinion
This shocking case is yet another illustration of the neglect, abuse and lack of respect suffered by elderly and vulnerable people in some care homes around England. We are aware of the legacy of the CQCs failures in recent years and whilst steps are now being taken to raise care standards we must be prepared for further disturbing examples such as this. Sadly, those charged with caring for the elderly and vulnerable have not conducted themselves with the decency that it is reasonable to have expected.

“We welcome the swift investigation carried out into this incident and the measures implemented by the NMC. Increasing the levels of respect for vulnerable people and the Care Quality Commission, which regulates the medical industry, will help to prevent poor care from happening in the first place, rather than waiting for incidents like this before action is taken.
Ian Christian, Partner