Midwife put mums and babies at ‘risk of harm’

Warwick Hospital
Warwick Hospital

A midwife who worked at Warwick Hospital has been struck off for professional misconduct after the death 
of a baby.

A struck-off notice on Kay Elaine Francis would not take effect for 28 days from when it
was served, but the Nursing and Midwifery Council was so concerned about her fitness to work that it also decided to immediately suspend her from practice.

A disciplinary panel found that her “serious misconduct had put patients at unwarranted risk of harm” and that her misconduct would “bring the midwifery profession into disrepute”. Ms Francis faced a number of disciplinary charges concerning treatment of patients, decisions made about them and record keeping and was found at fault on eight of them at a hearing on September 24-26, which she declined to attend.

In the case of the death of baby Daniel Kunigiskis in October 2012 - as we have previously reported - the midwife failed to notice foetal distress and “failed to escalate concerns appropriately”. The hospital subsequently apologised and paid out a five-figure sum to Warwick parents Sarah and Tyron Kunigiskis.

Panel members said it indicated Ms Francis was not aware of the “seriousness of the prolonged foetal distress”.

Later in the same month, Ms Francis failed to properly examine a baby after concerns about its breathing were raised by the mother. The baby was later admitted to intensive care with a serious infection.

Ms Francis was employed by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust in 2008 and in 2010 was moved up a band in seniority. But because of her record keeping she was investigated by the West Midlands Local Supervisory Authority midwifery officer and was put on a 450-hour programme of supervised practice in May 2011.

Because of continued failings the authority reported her to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and in March 2013 the trust also reported her.

A trust spokesman said: “Following any incident we ensure that it is fully investigated and make any improvements that are needed. The trust’s normal procedure when an issue of serious concern arises is to exclude the member of staff from duty, as a neutral act, to allow us to fully investigate.” However, the trust refused to reveal when the midwife was suspended or her contract terminated.