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NHS Fife's Devious Complaints System

I have had an on-going complaint against Fife NHS for 6 years now, it is, as far as they are concerned closed, although a legal letter has been logged with them for some time now.

It is a long and convoluted case, during which Fife NHS and in particular, their Central Assessment & Support Team (CAST) have behaved in a manner consistent with the 10 Devious Strategies you have listed on your website, but there have been a few additional ones as well. One very clear avoidance strategy involved The Nursing and Midwifery Council, NMC.

I raised a complaint against a Fife NHS nurse, a member of CAST, due to her behaviour after an assessment, of which she was in charge. In addition to raising a complaint with Fife NHS, I raised a complaint with the NMC, as they have the power to remove an individual’s right to operate as a nurse if they think the person does not meet the required level of skill, or breaches the code of conduct.

Although I was still requesting information from the NHS to support my complaint and had not even fully detailed my initial complaint, it was dismissed by Fife NHS. The paragraph below is from their close out letter,

“Also I would like to point out that it is not my intention to revisit any professional issues that have been raised with the Nursing & Midwifery Council in respect of the nurse as I understand that the NMC have decided that there is no case to answer.”

The NMC also dismissed my complaint, with the following statement in their report,

“Furthermore the panel noted that the employer had no concerns in respect of the professional standards of the registrant, had taken no action and continued to employ her. The panel therefore agreed that there was no real prospect of a finding of impairment of fitness to practice being made.”

This circular closer all sounds a bit convenient. But, if you think of the logic of this, it is even worse than that, it is impossible. One of the organisations must have completed their investigations first; they then can’t have quoted the other investigation, because by definition it has still to be completed. The only way this is possible is if they colluded before writing their reports. This means at best there is only one investigation, but in reality there is every chance this strategy could be used to avoid either organisation actually carrying out an investigation at all. Perhaps the thing I should be most insulted about is that they thought I would not notice!

As a footnote, armed with this point and substantial amounts of new information, I asked both Fife NHS and the NMC to reopen the investigation. The NMC at least had the decency to agree to reopen the case, if only they had also had the competency to actually carry one out. In their first new attempt they investigated the wrong nurse. In their second new attempt they investigated the right nurse but for a complaint I had never made. When I pointed this out to them again, their lawyer wrote to say it did not pass the “legal test” to be reopened. This is another Devious Strategy worth ending on - the application of a very narrow definition of what will be investigated by these bodies, never to the advantage of the victim.

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