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Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust’s director of strategy and partnerships, David Ainsworth, resigns after receiving year-old suspension from Nursing and Midwifery Council for misconduct while working as a nurse

A hospital director has resigned after a misconduct hearing into his nursing work resulted in a suspension.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals' Trust has confirmed that its director of strategy and partnerships, David Ainsworth, resigned from his position.

The decision, confirmed on Thursday (February 29), followed a misconduct hearing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council which ran from February 21 to 23.

Newark Hospital, which is run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Newark Hospital, which is run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The council’s case, presented by Simeon Wallis, covered incidents in 2018 and 2019, all of which were proven by admission.

The report of the hearing noted Mr Ainsworth had “missed red flags of sepsis” in the case of someone referred to as ‘Patient A’, and gave the patient’s family “wrong clinical information”, directing them to a pharmacy rather than hospital.

The hearing report stated: “You also failed to make an accurate recording of this conversation and documented that Patient A’s rash “did fade,” when Patient A’s mother said the opposite, and that Patient A’s mother declined to come in for a review when she did not.”

In another case Mr Ainsworth failed to notice or act upon a patient’s test results, known as ‘Patient B’.

The hearing revealed the nurse had interpreted the patient’s high potassium blood results incorrectly and asked the patient to attend for a repeat blood test when they should have been asked to go to A&E immediately.

At the repeat blood test, a colleague identified a life-threatening condition and called for an ambulance.

A further incident involved Mr Ainsworth incorrectly informing hospital staff that he was on duty when a patient’s referral was made, known as Patient C. During an internal investigation he incorrectly stated the referral had been part of an undercover Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) pilot — when he had not yet started his shift and knew there was no undercover CCG pilot.

The patient was a colleague of Mr Ainsworth’s and when questioned by the hospital he “misled them about [his] position and the referral”.

There were also multiple incidents of incomplete or incorrect clinical or referral notes, both linked to the above cases and on other occasions.

Mr Ainsworth was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council in October 2020 by Nottingham Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) for the incidents involving Patients A and B.

At the time of incidents, he was working for NEMS as a registered nurse and clinical team leader within its out of hours primary care service.

He made a self-referral earlier in the year in relation to Patient C, at which time he also held a position within the CCG and subsequently resigned from both his NEMS and CCG roles.

The hearing found he had abused his position of authority, and his dishonesty “was not limited to a single occasion”, and decided his fitness to practice was impaired.

Mr Wallis submitted that Mr Ainsworth’s actions were “serious and effectively an attempt to evade responsibility for situations in which a direct risk of harm to patients had been created by an error of your judgement even though no harm was materialised” and his “interaction with Patient C was the most serious concern in regard to [his] dishonesty as [he] had tried to persuade those reviewing the incident that nothing had gone wrong”.

A 12-month suspension order was put in place, to allow Mr Ainsworth “time to think very carefully about the impact of [his] behaviour and, in due course, to demonstrate to a reviewing panel that [he does] have the necessary insight to satisfy such a panel that [he] no longer represents a risk to patients.”

Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust said: “David leaves with our best wishes and we thank him for all that he achieved during his time with the trust.”

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