Pilgrim students to phase back in

NURSING students who were withdrawn from Pilgrim Hospital following concerns over teaching standards are to be phased back into the facility.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requested universities to remove their nursing students from placements at the Pilgrim at the end of July, saying they had ‘serious concerns’ about unamed aspects at the hosptial.

Around 100 nursing and midwifery students from the universities of Nottingham, Lincoln, Northampton and the Open University were found placements elsewhere, but a plan for the students’ phased return has now been agreed by the hospital, the NMC and the educational institutions.

In a joint statement, NMC, the University of Lincoln, the University of Nottingham, the Open University, the University of Northampton, East Midlands Strategic Health Authority and United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said that all parties had agreed to support the return over time.

The statement said: “Final year students will not be required to repeat the final 12 weeks of the course, as long as their learning is up to date, but will instead be offered final assessment in an alternative practice placement following a short period of induction. Alternative arrangements are also being made for new students starting courses in September, though most will not in fact be in practice placements before early 2012.”

It did not explain any of the reasons behind the sudden withdrawal, which were not explained to the hospital, the students or the universities – something which was slated by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Cliff Edwards, East Midlands operations manager for the RCN, said: “We welcome the statement and are pleased to see the Universities, NMC and Trust working together. However, the statement still fails to explain to the students and staff at Pilgrim what those issues and concerns are which warranted this unprecedented removal of students, and what the future action plan will be. Both students and staff at the hospital deserve a full explanation which includes the reasons for such drastic action and we anticipate more details in the very near future.”

A review meeting involving the same parties will be held in October.

The student withdrawal came shortly after a damning report on standards at the Pilgrim from the CQC.

l What do you think? Email laura.hammond@jpress.co.uk with your views.