No criminal charges for midwife after investigations into 22 births
A MIDWIFE who was at the centre of a police investigation into her care of more than 20 mothers and babies will not face criminal proceedings.
Kirsteen Stewart, 45, was suspended by her professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, in July, 2010, after colleagues raised concerns about her work at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
She had been temporarily suspended from duty four months earlier by NHS Grampian and Grampian Police were called in to investigate her care of 22 mothers and babies.
It is understood the initial inquiry by NHS Grampian focused on the number of emergency Caesarean sections carried out on pregnant mothers in the care of Mrs Stewart. One woman involved in the investigation had previously voiced concerns that she may have had an unnecessary Caesarean section.
Mrs Stewart was banned from working for 18 months by the Nursing and Midwifery Council which had been notified of “serious allegations of malpractice”.
But the Crown Office has now revealed that Mrs Stewart, from Newmachar in Aberdeenshire, will not be prosecuted. A Crown Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that the procurator fiscal at Aberdeen has received a report concerning a 45-year-old female in connection with alleged incidents occurring between April 2001 and March 2010 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
“Following an extensive investigation by Grampian Police, and after full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available evidence, independent Crown counsel instructed that there should be no proceedings at this time.”
He added: “The Crown reserve the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available.”
In July 2010, the Nursing and Midwifery Council investigating committee announced that Mrs Stewart had been suspended for “the protection of the public”. The investigating committee stated: “Without some form of restriction in place, there would be a real risk of significant harm to mothers and babies.
“The panel believe that there would be a likelihood of repetition, given that there was 12 alleged incidents over a nine-month period.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said yesterday: “We understand criminal proceedings have been dropped. An internal investigation is now being carried out by NHS Grampian to establish whether professional standards have been compromised.”
A spokeswoman for the midwifery council said: “We don’t comment on individual cases, but in most cases the Crown investigation happens first and then we will complete our own investigations.”
Mrs Stewart could not be contacted for comment.
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