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'We didn't check her last reference'

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HEALTH minister Peter Roffey yesterday admitted his staff 'were wrong' not to check all the references of a midwife sacked from the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

HEALTH minister Peter Roffey yesterday admitted his staff 'were wrong' not to check all the references of a midwife sacked from the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. Muriel Bickerdike, 47, was dismissed after she made a string of mistakes culminating in her involvement in an incident in which a baby died, a disciplinary hearing heard last week.

She is accused of writing lies on her CV to secure her post at the PEH, claiming she had worked at a busy NHS hospital in Leeds for three years before taking up the post in Guernsey.

But there was no record that she had ever been employed in Yorkshire.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard how she should not even have been working as a midwife at all after repeatedly failing to complete the obligatory annual checks.

Ms Bickerdike was finally sacked from the hospital after she posted a rant on the internet saying Guernsey was not a fit place to practise and adding that morale was at rock bottom.

She provided the PEH with three references but, Deputy Roffey admits, 'only two were followed up'.

He explained: 'Unfortunately, the reference we didn't follow up was the one alleged to be Ms Bickerdike's last employer in Yorkshire.

'As a result, we now ensure that we always check the most-recent reference of all applicants.

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'I hold my hands up on this and admit that it is our fault.'

He added: 'Health Department staff at the time should have checked all her references and we have now put in place measures that will ensure this sort of mistake is not repeated.'

The former midwife, who now owns a smallholding in High Kilburn, was formally found guilty of misconduct. She refused to attend the central London hearing because she claimed she had to look after her animals.

The case was adjourned until 28 February, when the panel will decide whether to strike her off.

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