Misconduct hearing for Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey

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Photo Credit: BBC

A misconduct hearing is to examine claims that a Scots nurse who survived Ebola concealed her temperature from medics on her return from Africa.

Pauline Cafferkey, 40, was infected while working at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone in 2014.

She is alleged to have given dishonest answers to medical staff when she returned to Heathrow airport.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will examine the allegations during a two-day hearing in Edinburgh.

The council has a range of sanctions it can impose against Ms Cafferkey, including to have her struck off as a practitioner if the allegation is upheld.

It could also opt to issue her with a caution or dismiss the claims altogether if they are unproven.

Ms Cafferkey has said she hopes the misconduct hearing will dismiss the claims.

Speaking last month, Ms Cafferkey said the “full facts” would be shared with the panel.

“Those facts, that have not yet been made public, will be considered by the panel as part of its review of all relevant information,” she said.

“I would very much hope that after the case has been considered by the panel the matter will be at an end.”

The NMC alleges that Ms Cafferkey “allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded” on 29 December 2014 and intended to conceal from Public Health England staff that she had a temperature higher than 38C.

The nurse, from Halfway, Cambuslang, contracted the virus while working as part of a British team at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre in 2014.

Pauline Cafferkey had to be kept in isolation while being flown for treatment in London. Photo Credit: Andrew Milligan | BBC
Pauline Cafferkey had to be kept in isolation while being flown for treatment in London.
Photo Credit: Andrew Milligan | BBC

She spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free at the beginning of 2015 after the virus was detected when she arrived back in the UK.

Ms Cafferkey was later discharged after apparently making a full recovery, and in March 2015 returned to work as a public health nurse at Blantyre Health Centre in South Lanarkshire.

In October last year it was discovered that Ebola was still present in her body, with health officials later confirming she had been diagnosed with meningitis caused by the virus.

However in the months that followed, her health suffered as she had issues with her thyroid, her hair fell out and she had headaches and pains in her joints.

But Ms Cafferkey stressed that she felt lucky because she had not lost her sight as others had done.