Nurse struck off for failings in care of Stephen Hawking

An independent panel from the Nursing and Midwifery Council today determined that Patricia Dowdy was no longer fit to practise as a nurse.

Among the charges faced by Ms Dowdy were financial misconduct; dishonesty; not providing appropriate care; failing to cooperate with the NMC; and not having the correct qualifications.

The investigation was launched after the NMC received a complaint from Professor Hawking’s family.

This resulted in Ms Dowdy being suspended for a period of 18 months in March 2016.

The wrongdoing took place in Cambridge, where the famed physicist worked and where he died in March 2018 from a form of motor neurone disease.

The trial to determine her fate started on 11 February and was concluded today.

Commenting on the conclusion of the case, Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, said: “The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.

“As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practise as a nurse,” he added.

“As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this – where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise – we will take action,” Mr McClelland said.

The case hit the headlines this weekend after the Mail on Sunday revealed that media and the public had been banned from attending the hearing due to confidentiality issues in relation to the health of individuals involved.

Concerns were raised about transparency but NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe hit back to say she “stands by” the decision to hold the proceedings behind closed doors, as reported by Nursing Times.

A spokesman for the Hawking family said they had “complete confidence” in the NMC to come to an independent conclusion based on the facts of the case.

The NMC will publish the reasons for Ms Dowdy’s striking off order on its website today.