Pilgrim Hospital student nurses removed over 'concerns'

Pilgrim Hospital
Image caption The hospital has been recently criticised by the Care Quality Commission

About 100 student nurses have been removed from Boston's Pilgrim Hospital after the Nursing and Midwifery Council expressed "serious concerns" about it.

The Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln, and the Open University, have confirmed their students are affected.

The Patients Association said the move was a "damning condemnation" of care at the hospital.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said patient safety was not affected as students only supported core staff.

'Support students'

Fifty-two of the affected nurses are from courses run by the University of Nottingham, with another seven from the University of Lincoln and the rest from The Open University.

In a statement, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said: "Following serious concerns that have formally been raised with the NMC, we have asked The University of Lincoln, The University of Nottingham and The Open University to withdraw around 100 nursing and midwifery students with immediate effect.

"We are working with the universities to review the suitability of the learning environment at Pilgrim Hospital and to support all students affected at this time."

Sylvia Knight, director of nursing and patient services at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, said: "Although students form a valuable part of the nursing teams, they work in addition to our core staff, therefore our ability to deliver safe services for patients is not reliant on the presence of student nurses and midwives.

"At the present time, we are seeking further clarification from the NMC regarding the reason for their actions."

'Lack of care'

NHS East Midlands said: "We are now working closely with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, NHS Lincolnshire and the hospital itself to understand the concerns of the NMC that have led to them removing student nurses and midwives from the Pilgrim Hospital site."

The chief executive of the Patients Association, Katherine Murphy, said: "How many times do we have to hear about the lack of essential care in this hospital before something is done?

"Patients deserve better - if this hospital is performing so badly that it is not thought suitable to train nurses then it is certainly not suitable to care for sick and vulnerable patients.

"What is the trust going to do about this?," she said.

Last month the hospital was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which said it had not met required standards in 12 of 16 categories.

'Normal working relationship'

In a statement, the CQC said it had shared information about the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust with the NMC.

"This is part of our normal working relationship and the information had previously been shared with the trust.

"The CQC is carrying out a wider investigation into the trust and we will publish the findings of this in due course," a CQC spokesperson said.

Police have confirmed a separate inquiry into reports of mistreatment of patients by a member of staff is continuing.

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