Cumbria

Furness baby deaths 'mistakes' midwife Marie Ratcliffe struck off

Furness General Hospital Image copyright University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay
Image caption Ms Ratcliffe said she would "regret" what happened during her time at Barrow's Furness General Hospital for the rest of her life

An ex-midwife from a maternity unit where 11 babies were judged to have died unnecessarily has been struck off over the deaths of two of them.

Marie Ratcliffe had admitted she "made mistakes" that contributed to the deaths of the two babies at Furness General Hospital.

Ms Ratcliffe accepted 68 charges relating to 14 patients.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) concluded the "only appropriate sanction" was a "striking off order".

The panel said her actions, relating to a period between 2004 and 2013, were "fundamentally incompatible" with her remaining on the register.

'Repetition of failures'

Ms Ratcliffe had faced 85 allegations in total, 68 of which were proven.

The NMC confirmed she was the first of a number of midwives from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to be investigated.

In a statement, the NMC said: "The tragic events at the trust led to two independent reports and a significant review of midwifery regulation, and particularly the role of midwifery supervision.

"We are now seeking the urgent change to our legislation to enable us to deal with cases like this more quickly and to remove supervision from our remit and to give us direct control of regulatory decisions affecting midwives."

Ms Ratcliffe said she would "regret" what happened for the rest of her life but denied being part of any cover-up or an effort to "conceal the truth".

Gary Leong, chair of the NMC panel, said she had been responsible for "wide ranging failures" over a long period of time and a "repetition of [those] failures".

He said: "Mitigating factors were that she had a long career, she did 180 hours of supervised training, she admitted all charges, minimising any delays, and worked in a system where there were organisational failures.

"[Marie Ratcliffe] failed in the basic care of patients. She has not engaged with proceedings, therefore there is no evidence that she is willing to retrain."

'Serious misconduct'

Mr Leong added: "The failings were repeated over a 10 year period and she showed a persistent lack of insight into her actions.

"Her conduct was a very significant departure from standards expected of a midwife.

"Her contribution the deaths of babies B and C amounts to serious misconduct. She has breached public confidence in the profession."

The allegations included contributing to the death and/or causing a baby to lose a significant chance of survival in relation to the deaths of Elleanor Bennett in 2004 and Alex Davey-Brady in 2008.

In February 2014, Ms Ratcliffe was suspended for 18 months while the council investigated an incident. At the time, she said she had no intention of returning to the profession.

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