Northamptonshire midwife suspended after storing contaminated cotton wool with baby scales
A midwife who stored sharps and blood-contaminated cotton wool in the same bag as baby scales has been suspended for a year.
Laura Scotson, who worked at Weavers Medical Centre in Kettering, had seven charges of misconduct against her proven at a hearing in Corby last week.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing heard how Ms Scotson was assigned to the medical centre by the KGH trust in July 2012, and five months later concerns arose surrounding her clinical practice.
Blood-contaminated cotton wool and sharps were found loose and unprotected in a bag containing baby scales in Ms Scotson’s car.
The panel decided that although there was no evidence of actual harm, her failure to dispose of the items appropriately placed babies, herself and colleagues at potential risk of infection or injury and constituted basic failings.
Ms Scotson was also found to have stored sensitive data relating to patients in her car.
The panel heard evidence from a fellow practitioner that confidential material was found under her seats and in the glove compartment.
There was also documentation in the boot and a complete newborn blood spot test by the handbrake, all of which were clearly visible through the window of the car.
Ms Scotson, who was first employed by the KGH Trust in 2010, also failed to follow correct procedures in relation to a number of aspects of her job.
She failed to send a number of antenatal summary cards – which register a woman’s pregnancy with the trust – to the maternity records department, claiming she had asked a student midwife to take them for her.
But there was no record of a student midwife working with Ms Scotson on the day in question, and even if there was it would have been her responsibility.
A number of blood samples in her car were unusable as they had been inappropriately stored, and neonatal tests had to be repeated as forms found in her car had not been processed.
Ms Scotson also failed to submit safeguarding forms relating to a mother who planned to have her child adopted – resulting in staff on the labour ward not knowing about her plans when she attended.
A further charge of leaving sensitive documents in cupboards which were not locked was found to be not proven.
The panel heard that Ms Scotson, who did not attend the hearing and did not respond to any of the allegations, had ‘a high case load’ at the time of the incidents.
But it found that her actions would be viewed as “deplorable” by other practitioners and were sufficiently serious enough to constitute misconduct.
The panel heard evidence from her colleagues that she had failed to understand the severity of the incidents and had not demonstrated any remorse for her actions.
She was then placed on a supervision programme and completed 360 hours, but failed to demonstrate any progress.
The panel concluded that her fitness to practice was impaired and imposed a 12-month suspension order.
An 18-month interim order was also imposed as it was ‘necessary for the protection of the public’.
Kettering General Hospital’s director of nursing and quality, Leanne Hackshall, said: “The Trust took prompt action to investigate the allegations of misconduct against Laura Scotson.
“Following the investigation she was placed on a Local Supervisory Practice programme and was referred to the NMC to investigate her fitness to practice.
“She chose at this time to resign from her position at Kettering General Hospital.”