Ex-Stafford Hospital chief nurse admits being 'intense' with staff

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A former chief nurse at Stafford Hospital has admitted she could be "intense" with staff.

At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) disciplinary hearing, Janice Harry denied bullying colleagues.

Mrs Harry described herself as "firm but fair" but said her sometimes "very straightforward" manner could be misinterpreted as aggressive.

She denies a series of charges, including misconduct, dating from 1998 to 2006.

"Sometimes I can be very straightforward and sometimes it might be read as aggressive but it is not intentional," she told the tribunal.

Mrs Harry faces charges related to alleged failures to ensure adequate nursing staffing levels and appropriate standards of record-keeping, hygiene and cleanliness, administration of medication, provision of nutrition and fluids and patient dignity.

She has also denied allegations of bullying staff who raised problems with her - allegedly creating a "stressful and unpleasant" atmosphere which discouraged staff from reporting problems.

Denied shouting

Mrs Harry was asked to comment on a claim that the "favourite expression" she used when discussing patients who were dying was to ask the nursing sisters whether there was "anybody going to heaven in respect of the availability of the bed."

"I am not sure I used those exact words, but it was a question that was asked," Mrs Harry told the panel.

Mrs Harry insisted that despite her title she was not the line manager for any of the hospital's ward nurses and she instead oversaw clinical standards across the NHS trust.

She has also denied shouting at staff.

Mrs Harry was employed by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and its predecessor, Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, from 1998 to 2006.

From 1998, she was director of nursing and quality assurance at Stafford Hospital and in 2002 was appointed director of clinical standards and chief nurse as well as director of infection prevention and control.

She denies misconduct.

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