Experienced midwife struck off after serious KGH failings

A midwife of almost 40 years has been banned after her serious failings at Kettering General Hospital left a baby requiring resuscitation.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Kettering General Hospital.

Christine Garvey, a registered midwife since 1981, was struck off after a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel heard she then falsified records to try and cover up her mistake.

The panel in London heard Ms Garvey, who had a long career in the profession and previously worked as a supervisor of midwives, was caring for a woman known as Patient A on a night shift at the Rothwell Road hospital in April 2018. Patient A was in labour and had an epidural for pain relief.

A continuous CTG scan was being undertaken to monitor the baby's heartbeat. It showed an abnormal fetal heart when Patient A was in the latter stages of labour but Ms Garvey failed to provide appropriate care.

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She didn't tell the midwife in charge or escalate it to a doctor and the baby was born in a 'poor condition' and had to be resuscitated. Ms Garvey took the baby to another room where the resuscitaire was located, leaving the new mum on her own with the placenta in situ.

She then falsified records to create the impression that guidance had been followed and that a colleague had completed a "fresh eyes" review of the CTG scan. When asked, the colleague said they had not.

The NMC report said: "The failings in care provided by the registrant (Ms Garvey) had the potential to put patients at significant risk of harm. There is also evidence to suggest that Baby A suffered actual harm as a result of those failings.

"The tests conducted on the cord blood indicated that, had Baby A been delivered earlier, Baby A may not have required resuscitation.

"The registrant did not act on a deteriorating CTG or write adequate records in relation to what occurred and these failings placed those in her care at risk of significant harm. Further, by documenting that someone else had undertaken a review when they had not was a dishonest act."

Ms Garvey, who was employed at KGH for eight months, was later suspended and has since retired.

She didn't turn up to face the panel but admitted all charges, accepting that she brought the profession into disrepute.

In a written response to the charges, she said: “I am fully aware of the seriousness of the accusations against me and I know this is not acceptable practice.

"I am deeply sorry that my practice has fallen short of what I know I was capable of. I was removed from the bank employment at KGH and was therefore unable to participate in any remedial training/supervised safe practice.

"I have done lots of reflection myself and realise the errors I have made and how my actions have affected others.”

Deciding to remove her from the nursing and midwifery register, the panel concluded that she would have been fully aware of the risks associated with her practice,and that retrospective and dishonest entries are "wholly unacceptable".

The panel said: "The registrant’s conduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration. The registrant acted dishonestly to protect her own interests and in an attempt to prevent her omissions in care being identified.

"Taking into account the registrant’s current intentions regarding her midwifery and the likelihood she will address the identified concerns, a striking-off order is the necessary and appropriate sanction in this case."

An interim striking-off order was made in case Ms Garvey appealed but she did not and she has now been struck off.

Kettering General Hospital's director of nursing and midwifery, Leanne Hackshall, said: “We detected problems with this bank midwife’s practice, reported her to the NMC and suspended her from working pending the outcome of the NMC registration hearing where she has been removed from the national nursing and midwifery register.”