Scottish Daily Mail

Ebola nurse can carry on working, rules panel

- By Victoria Allen Scottish Health Reporter

A SCOTTISH nurse who survived ebola is free to continue working while an investigat­ion takes place, a disciplina­ry panel has ruled.

Pauline Cafferkey was summoned to appear before the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) yesterday over suspicions she hid how unwell she was.

The interim hearing was to decide if she should be suspended for 18 months pending an investigat­ion but it ruled last night that she was free to continue working while the probe is under way.

The 39-year-old, who spent a month in isolation in a London hospital fighting the disease, is one of five medics facing possible disciplina­ry action.

It is understood a temperatur­e test at Heathrow Airport could have indicated ebola but she did not report this. Miss Cafferkey, pictured, then flew to Glasgow, raising fears she may have infected nine other people. The nurse, who works in Blantyre, Lanarkshir­e, could be struck off for profession­al misconduct.

The NMC said it accepted her ‘vulnerabil­ity’ meant the case should be heard in private. The nurse spoke at the hearing in Edinburgh only to confirm her name. She is being investigat­ed along with two nurses and two doctors, believed to have been present when she took a temperatur­e test after flying from Sierra Leone, where she was a volunteer at a Save the Children centre.

It was reported at the time that she complained of feeling ill on landing in London but passed the screening process. She was tested seven times in all but was cleared to fly to Scotland. The investigat­ion into her conduct began after Public Health England reported concerns to the NMC.

It is believed to centre on claims that Miss Cafferkey’s temperatur­e may have been beyond the safe limit, potentiall­y indicating a fever. The signs of ebola may have been ignored, putting eight other passengers on the flight to Glasgow at risk as well as a taxi driver in the city. All were later found to be clear of the disease.

An NMC spokesman said: ‘A panel of the investigat­ing committee met to consider imposing an interim order against the registrati­on of Pauline Cafferkey. The panel decided not to impose an interim order (she) is free to practise without restrictio­n.’

The full case is likely to be heard later this year.

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