Leading article: The right medicine

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The Independent Online

It takes a particular kind of courage to be a whistleblower. Those who take such drastic action risk ostracism, disciplinary action, and, in extremis, dismissal. Dismissal is what Margaret Haywood, the nurse who covertly filmed the scandalous neglect of elderly patients at the Royal Sussex Hospital, received. She was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for breaching the confidentiality of her patients.

Now that sanction has been reversed after a court challenge. But the NMC ruling that Ms Haywood behaved badly still stands. That is not good enough. Ms Haywood was doing a true service to her patients by bringing the appalling manner in which they were being treated to public attention.

It is good news that Ms Haywood can return to work. But the deplorable impression lingers that the profession to which this brave woman belongs is more interested in keeping its members in line than in protecting patients.