Page last updated at 20:06 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Undercover nurse in hearing delay

Margaret Haywood
Margaret Haywood worked undercover on the Panorama documentary

A nurse who took part in a BBC documentary at a Brighton hospital will have to await the outcome of a hearing for breaching patient confidentiality.

Margaret Haywood, 58, was up before the Nursing and Midwifery Council over her role in the Panorama show in July 2005.

The hearing was adjourned and the NMC's fitness to practise panel said it would reconvene at a later date.

The Liverpool nurse was informed on Thursday there was no case to answer for two other charges she faced.

Undercover Nurse was televised to expose failures in care for the elderly at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Ms Haywood has admitted breaching patient confidentiality in relation to the programme, but denies that her fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct.

My intentions were to improve the standards and that is the way I viewed it
Margaret Haywood

The panel found no evidence that she broke the NHS trust's policy on whistle-blowing by raising concerns about patient care in the documentary, or that she failed to assist colleagues when a patient was having a seizure.

The alleged incidents were said to have taken place between 3 November 2004 and 5 May 2005 while Ms Haywood was working as a registered nurse for the trust.

In evidence to the panel on Friday, Ms Haywood said she felt her actions were justified because it was in the interests of the public and patients to reveal the problems she had witnessed.

"Patients going into hospital have the right to appropriate care and the relatives assume that they are going to be cared for and, in this situation, they were not.

"My intentions were to improve the standards and that is the way I viewed it," she said.

'No consent'

She added that only those patients who gave their consent or whose relatives had given consent after the filming appeared in the documentary.

She said she understood that those who had not given consent would not be recognisable after the BBC had edited the film.

Rachel Birks, for the NMC, asked Ms Haywood if she believed patients who did not appear in the programme also had a right to know they had been filmed.

The nurse denied suggestions she was failing in her duty towards them, saying: "Because I was reminding myself of the reason that I was doing the programme."

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