Freed women face nursing council probe

THE two nurses are to be investigated by the governing body for nurses in Britain. The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing said it was investigating a complaint made by the Labour MP George Galloway, that the nurses should not be allowed to work again, writes Andrew Buncombe.

The UKCCN has the power to strike off its register any nurses convicted of serious offences in Britain. If a nurse is not on the register, he or she cannot legally work.

Lucille McLauchlan, 32, has been summoned to appear at Dundee Sheriff Court next month charged with stealing pounds 1,740 from a dying patient. The council indicated last night that if convicted she will almost certainly be struck off.

Mr Galloway, the MP for Glasgow Kelvin, said his complaint against the nurses was in the public interest. "If I didn't believe that this was an unsavoury matter before the signing of the tabloid deals and coverage, I certainly do now.

"The UKCC, which is responsible for nurses, needs to investigate the matter forthwith. If it had been a British conviction they would have done so automatically. I want them struck off. I don't want to see them practice," he said.

John Knape, a spokesman for the UKCCN, said the council was currently taking legal advice on how far it should pursue its inquiries.

"There has been an allegation made against them but it would be very difficult to gather the evidence that we would require," he said. "I cannot see us going to Saudi Arabia as part of our investigation."

In normal circumstances, the UKCC employs barristers and solicitors to investigate any conviction from abroad.

This would include taking evidence from witnesses, and interviewing the nurse concerned, as well as colleagues and the employer. The UKCC, with which 625,000 nurses are registered, receives approximately 1,000 complaints a year, 200 of which come automatically from the British courts.

Of these, about 100 lead to nurses, midwives or health visitors being stuck off. Up to 80 per cent of the cases which go before its Professional Conduct Committee - many are thrown out at the initial screening stage - are proven.

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