Following the publication of the Francis Inquiry it is quite reasonable for people to ask if a similar scandal could occur in an NHS trust in Scotland.
In his final report, Robert Francis criticised the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the nurse regulator, for failing in its regulatory function. I wrote to Alex Neil to seek reassurance that the NMC in Scotland is fulfilling its regulatory function for nurses working in Scottish hospitals. His office replied that it was not a devolved issue.
I would have thought that Mr Neil, as Cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, would want to ensure that nurses working in Scotland are appropriately regulated by the NMC, even if it is not currently a devolved issue.
If nurses working in Scotland are found not to be effectively regulated, Mr Neil could contact the body which does have responsibility to ensure that the NMC is fulfilling its function. Doing nothing should not be an option. Once Scotland becomes independent its government will no longer be allowed to use the “it wasn’t me, a big boy (Westminster) did it and ran away” excuse.