Pauline Cafferkey accused of concealing fever during screening

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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EBOLA nurse Pauline Cafferkey has been accused of “intending to conceal” that she had a fever during a medical screening.

Miss Cafferkey was originally infected with the disease while working at a Save the Children’s treatment facility in Sierra Leone, West Africa in December 2014.

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey while being treated for Ebola. Handout/PA Wire

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey while being treated for Ebola. Handout/PA Wire

The 40-year-old, from Crossgates, Fife, has been under investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which has now, for the first time, revealed its case against her.

Details have emerged claiming that the health worker intentionally tried to conceal that her temperature was over 38 degrees during a screening in Heathrow Airport.

And a further accusation reveals that during the screening the Scot didn’t let medical staff know she had taken paracetamol - known to treat pain and lower fevers.

At the time Public Health England (PHE) staff, in charge of screening for the virus at the airport, allowed Cafferkey onto a connecting flight back to Scotland.

But the following day Miss Cafferkey was flown down to an isolation unit in London and dozens of passengers on her flight were contacted by Health Protection Scotland.

READ MORE: Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey ‘may never run again’

If the allegations against her, due to be heard at a hearing in Edinburgh next month, are found proved she could be struck off.

The NMC charges state: “That you, a registered nurse, on 29 December 2014 whilst in the Public Health England (PHE) screening area at Terminal 4, gave incorrect responses to questions 4.1 and/or 4.2 of the screening form and allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded on your PHE screening form.

“On 29 December 2014 left the PHE screening area without reporting your true temperature to PHE staff.

“On 29 December 2014 when having your temperature taken by Dr 1, did not tell her that you had recently taken paracetamol.”

The last charge reads: “Your conduct as set out in charges 1 and/or 2 above was dishonest in that: you knew your temperature was above 38 degrees. You intended to conceal from PHE staff that you had a temperature higher than 38 degrees.

“And in light of the above, your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct.”

The nurse of 16 years volunteered to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa after responding to an appeal made by the NHS.

In December 2014 she returned back home to Scotland complaining that she felt unwell and had a high temperature.
Within days she was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in London where she spent almost a month in isolation and was described as being in “critical” condition.

But at the end of January 2015 she was discharged.

In October last year, the Scottish nurse fell ill and was taken to the Royal Free Hospital for a second time where doctors discovered she had meningitis caused by the Ebola.

She returned home in November after making a full recovery but in February this year she became ill for a third time due to a complication from her previous Ebola virus.

The following week she was discharged after a Royal Free Hospital spokesman confirmed Miss Cafferkey was no longer infectious.

Last month, Miss Cafferkey told the press: “The report on how they are dealing with my case is still ongoing.

“I don’t know why it has not been finished. It’s very stressful. It would be nice to have closure.”

READ MORE: Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s Ebola diary

On the specific allegations, Miss Cafferkey said in the same interview: “My lawyer just says I can’t speak about it. I am unable to discuss the investigation whilst it is ongoing and I am looking forward to its conclusion.”

An NMC spokesman said: “We can confirm that the NMC case regarding allegations of misconduct against Pauline Cafferkey is ongoing.

“We are working closely with Miss Cafferkey and her representatives to ensure that we reach a resolution as quickly as possible that meets the public interest. As the case is ongoing, we are not able to comment further.”

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