Via The Guardian, a report by health editor Sarah Boseley: Pauline Cafferkey misconduct inquiry condemned by Ebola volunteer. Excerpt:
A health worker who travelled from Ebola-hit Sierra Leone with Pauline Cafferkey has strongly criticised Public Health England for referring her to a misconduct inquiry even though she had been given the green light to travel on from Heathrow to Glasgow by its own staff.
Cafferkey and two other nurses remain at risk of being struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) more than a year after the investigation into the events at Heathrow in December 2014 was launched.
The nurse twice came close to death following her return – first from Ebola and later from meningitis triggered by the virus lingering in her body. It is understood she has told friends that it is impossible to put the troubled times behind her until the inquiry concludes.
One of 30 volunteers on the Sierra Leone trip said they were “incredulous” that Cafferkey and others who risked so much to help people in Sierra Leone “still have this hanging over their head”. Denouncing the inquiry, they said that Cafferkey did nothing that was not approved by Public Health England (PHE).
“I cannot get my head round why one group of medical professionals – PHE – demand such an investigation over another vulnerable group of medical professionals when they themselves had so many failings,” the volunteer said in a written statement given to the Guardian.
PHE staff stationed at Heathrow to carry out health checks on those returning from Sierra Leone on 28 December 2014 had every opportunity to stop Cafferkey flying on to Glasgow, but did not, said the volunteer.
Because there were too few PHE staff to process all the returning volunteers and other travellers, they allowed the healthcare workers to take each other’s temperature and fill in the official forms.
Cafferkey’s temperature was high, so one of the PHE staff was alerted. Within an hour or so, she had her temperature taken by PHE staff six more times. Under the procedure that was supposed to be in place, she should have been seen by an infectious diseases doctor, who could have made the decision to send her to Northwick Park hospital, which had been designated to take any suspected Ebola cases while testing for the virus was carried out.
PHE staff told Cafferkey she could fly on to Glasgow. “The Ebola screening process was estimated to cost £9m yet the one person who had Ebola was waved on through Heathrow although PHE was aware she had a temperature,” said the source.