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Muckamore Abbey scandal: Nursing body 'reneges' on agreement to lift two nurses' suspensions

 Muckamore Abbey Hospital is at the centre of a major probe into the alleged abuse of vulnerable patients

A regulatory body has allegedly "reneged" over consenting to lifting suspensions on two nurses who worked at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, the High Court heard today.

But lawyers for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it reached its current position after receiving further information.

A legal challenge to the sanctions imposed amid allegations that patients were abused will now take place later this month.

In February seven other nurses at the hospital in Co Antrim successfully appealed their interim suspension orders.

The court held there was insufficient evidence for the NMC to take the action against them.

They can now practice in the UK, but remain temporarily suspended by the Belfast Trust pending the outcome of an ongoing PSNI investigation into claims that vulnerable patients were subjected to physical and mental abuse.

It was disclosed that police are examining 240,000 hours of CCTV footage as part of the probe.

 Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Co Antrim is at the centre of a massive PSNI investigation into abuse

A team of eight officers has currently been assigned to go through the material, with further requests made to double their numbers.

Counsel for the NMC confirmed today that the actual CCTV footage has not yet been given to his client.

But he indicated that further evidence has been provided by the Trust.

A lawyer representing the two nurses, who cannot be identified, claimed the regulatory body was at one stage consenting to their applications to have the suspensions lifted.

"The NMC are now reneging on that and it is therefore going to have to be listed for hearing," he told the court.

Listing the case for hearing in two weeks' time, Mr Justice McAlinden identified the issues as being the alleged resolution reached between the parties and an assessment of risk. 

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