Trade union representing Muckamore nurses backs calls for independent inquiry
THE trade union representing nurses at the centre of the Muckamore abuse investigation has confirmed it is backing calls for an independent inquiry into the scandal.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) yesterday revealed it has formally informed the permanent secretary at the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly, about its decision.
As the north's biggest union for the nursing workforce, the move is being viewed as highly significant.
"The RCN in Northern Ireland has written to the Permanent Secretary...calling for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the care and treatment of patients residing at Muckamore Abbey Hospital," RCN acting deputy director, Rita Devlin said.
The union is currently representing around 20 nurses linked to the abuse probe. Eleven of these members have been suspended by their employer while the remainder are working in the hospital under "restricted" conditions.
The trade union's lawyers launched a 'test case' for seven of it members last August in relation to the interim suspensions imposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) - as they felt the process was flawed.
The bans were lifted during a high court ruling on Friday.
In a statement on the ruling, Ms Devlin said: "The RCN in Northern Ireland believes that the powers exercised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council must be robust in their essential public protection function but must also follow due process and be fair to those who are the subject of investigation. As such, the RCN notes the High Court ruling on Friday 8 February 2019."