The Telegraph can reveal that Sarah Serwaah Major worked at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford without disclosing she had been sanctioned
A scandal-hit NHS Trust employed a midwife who had been suspended in Ghana after she was accused of dangerous behaviour.
Sarah Serwaah Major, 45, was sanctioned in Ghana in 2019, but she continued to work at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford afterwards – without disclosing what had happened.
She was one of 80 nurses and midwives at East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust who have been the subject of investigations by regulators in Britain over the last 10 years, according to data released to The Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act.
Another midwife, Claire Stanton, 51, was struck off for falsifying medical notes and preparing the wrong medication for a patient.
The revelations come as a scathing report found that 45 baby deaths could have been avoided at the Trust, whose treatment of pregnant mothers led to “significant harm”.
Repeated and serious failings in the care of babies and mothers led to some newborns being brain-damaged and others dying.
The report said that women who were patients in East Kent said that “their notes were inaccurate, with important aspects of their care missed out or incorrectly recorded”.
It did not name individual members of staff and there is no suggestion that Ms Stanton or Ms Major harmed patients.
However, The Telegraph can disclose that Claire Stanton – who was formerly known as Claire Howard – was found by the NMC to have made “inaccurate entries” about a patient’s blood pressure, temperature and respiration rates, whilst she was working at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. The actions were described as “dishonest” by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) last year.
Ms Stanton told The Telegraph that she had “just had a blackout” because she had been going through a stressful divorce.
“My head wasn’t in it and I know that I should have turned around and said I can’t deal with this,” she said. “It was a post-natal visit, she had preeclampsia in pregnancy and her blood pressure should have been taken. [But] I didn’t take it. I just had a blackout.”
Ms Stanton made five further mistakes over three months in 2018 – including preparing “incorrect medication”- which amounted to a “lack of competence”, according to the NMC.
She was suspended for six months in October 2021 as there was “no evidence to suggest” she “is safe to practise without restriction”, and was subsequently struck off in April this year.
Ms Major, who also worked for William Harvey Hospital, first worked at the East Kent Trust for almost six years to 2014. She subsequently set up a maternity hospital in Ghana but was suspended by the country’s midwifery regulator for “unprofessional conduct” in relation to the delivery of a baby in 2017.
According to Ghanaian press reports, Ms Major was accused of asking an expectant father “to cut their baby’s umbilical cord with a blunt tool”, and of “forcibly and manually removing the placenta amid excessive bleeding”, leaving part of it behind.
Ms Major told The Telegraph that both methods were justified, but denied that any placenta was left behind.
She was also accused of using her gloved hand “to touch unsanitary items during the delivery including her phone” – which Ms Major also denies.
“I think they were just trying to find things to accuse me of,” she said.
Ms Major was also accused of failing to consult a doctor about the situation, according to press reports. In April 2019, the regulator in Ghana found that she had broken guidelines for referring patients.
However, Ms Major continued to work as a midwife – both in Ghana and East Kent, starting a new job at William Harvey Hospital in September 2019. The NHS Trust only found out about the sanctions imposed in Ghana the following year, when the NMC in the UK also suspended her and she was forced to disclose it to her employer. When she did, East Kent Trust dismissed her.
The NMC said at the time that Ms Major was “dishonest” in intending to conceal the investigations and sanctions from East Kent, her employer in the UK.
This week, it ruled that she should be struck off.
“Her lack of candour could have placed patients at real risk of harm,” said Ben Edwards, the “case presenter” at the NMC hearing.
Andrea Ashman, chief people officer at East Kent Trust, said: “At the time of her appointment, Sarah Major did not disclose any sanction on her registration to the Trust and our review of the NMC register showed no sanction or conditions on her practice.”
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