Midwife Diana Warwick guilty of misconduct


A midwife who dropped a baby on to the floor of a maternity unit and used an electric monitor in a birthing pool was today found guilty of a lack of competence and misconduct.

Diana Warwick had demonstrated no insight into her limitations as a nurse and her fitness to practise was impaired, a conduct and competence committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled.

Panel chairman Andrew Coleman told Warwick, from Whitehaven, Cumbria: "The panel has had regard to the totality of its findings against you, which encompass wide-ranging concerns relating to your competence, your awareness of your shortcomings and misconduct. All of these matters raise concerns about your safety and reliability."

The panel found that while working in the West Cumberland Hospital maternity unit on September 1, 2005, Ms Warwick, 56, caused a baby to fall out of the plastic cot and on to the floor, by using her hand to pull the cot and not noticing it slide off the metal frame.

Mr Coleman said: "The panel accepted that the cause of this accident was carelessness on your part rather than a deliberate action.

"However, on the basis of the evidence about how you handled the cot, the panel has concluded that you were grossly negligent. The risks were obvious and easily avoided. The potential consequences were very serious and could have resulted in harm to the baby."

This and two other incidents - including one where Ms Warwick took deodorant from the personal bag of a woman to whom she was providing midwifery care and used it on her own body - amounted to misconduct, Mr Coleman said.

The panel found that other matters that were found proved amounted to "a serious lack of competence".

These included the incident in the birthing pool when Ms Warwick used a CTG (cardiotocography) monitor plugged into a mains electric socket to record the baby's heart rate, instead of an aqua sonic aid monitor.

Mr Coleman said: "It is self evident that it is not safe to use a mains powered device for a woman who was in labour in water."

In another incident, she was found to have used inappropriate behaviour when she held her face to a woman or women in labour and shouted loudly "push" or words to that effect.

Mr Coleman said: "You continued to act in this way, despite having been advised in no uncertain terms by your colleagues not to do so.

"What concerns the panel about these incidents is that you continued to make a basic error despite advice."

The panel went on to consider what sanctions might be imposed.

The hearing was adjourned to June 7 to allow Ms Warwick time to prepare any further submissions she wishes to make.