'Aggressive' Airedale Hospital midwife struck off

Keighley News: Jeanette Matthews Jeanette Matthews

An aggressive midwife at Airedale Hospital who threatened to “cut” a woman in labour to speed up the birth process has been kicked out of the profession.

Jeanette Matthews said to the expectant mum: “If you don’t hurry up and have the baby I'm going to cut you.” And then she took away the mother’s painkilling gas during the birth when there was no reason to do so.

She also hoisted the mother’s feet up in stirrups during labour, which is usually only done for difficult births, without obtaining consent.

Matthews also complained to the patient that she did not want to be at work on the night shift, at Airedale Hospital, in Steeton.

Matthews was found guilty by a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel of being rude and aggressive, after admitting to investigators that she would occasionally say to mothers that she might give them a ‘little cut’ in order to encourage them to push harder.

It was the woman’s fourth child, and she told NMC investigators that she didn’t need encouragement to push.

However, Matthews was cleared of saying she wanted the birth finished because she had ordered a curry and needed to get home to eat it. She was also found not guilty of complaining that the ward was short staffed.

Penny Griffiths, chairing the hearing, said: “The registrant’s conduct fell well below the standards expected of her as a registered nurse.

“There was repetition of some of the failings, and the registrant has demonstrated a lack of insight, therefore the risk of repetition is high.”

A litany of failings in her record-keeping were also found proved by the panel, although it was not found proved she had failed to record foetal heart rate during the second stage of labour.

She was also cleared of failing to record that she had given the mother pain relief during the birth.

It was found proved Matthews had failed coursework she had been set as part of a supervised re-training scheme to address her record-keeping issues.

On another occasion she failed to identify and respond to a woman who was haemorrhaging following the birth of her child.

Susan Speak, Matthews' former clinical supervisor, told the NMC panel that Matthews’ parents were ill.

She said: “Her clinical work suffered when she had problems in her private life.

“Jeanette seemed to go into victim mode and was feeling sorry for herself.”

Matthews qualified as a nurse in 1987 and then later as a midwife in 2002.

In response to the decision Rob Dearden, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was regrettable that one of our midwives did not provide the compassionate care we would expect for patients in the instances highlighted and we apologise to the families involved.

“As soon as we were approached by the families about their concerns, in 2011, we investigated them and following this scrutiny we took appropriate action, including referring the midwife to her professional body, the nursing and midwifery council (NMC), to further investigate the allegations and concerns.”

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