The Mail Wins 18-Month Battle For Transparency

The Mail in Cumbria has won an 18-month battle for transparency after the Nursing and Midwifery Council released a review looking at the regulator’s decision not to suspend a midwife involved in the care of the two babies who died.

In 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced it had launched a learning review into its handling of the case of a Barrow midwife. But it refused to disclose the review after stating the document contained confidential advice from its lawyer.

In a bid to deliver its findings to the grieving families of two babies who died, The Mail pressed the case for transparency by pursuing a legal challenge through the courts in March, with advice from the News Media Association and the Campaign for Freedom of Information.

The live case, heard in Manchester, was adjourned for the publication of a separate report into the NMC’s behaviour by the Professional Standards Authority. This report concluded the NMC failed the families who lost loved ones in Barrow’s maternity unit.

Following publication of PSA report, the NMC said it was publishing the review having “decided that it’s now in the public interest”” following “a fresh balancing exercise.”

Caroline Barber, senior reporter – investigations, News and Star/The Mail, said: “The advice provided by the News Media Association assisting with our representations was simply invaluable. Without it, I think the judge would have dismissed the case quite quickly.

“The fact that he was prepared to give it serious consideration was critical to the Professional Standards Authority recommendation that the report should be published.”