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Professor Stephen Hawking’s former nurse struck off register

MISCONDUCT HEARING: Professor Stephen Hawking's former nurse has been struck off the register

PROFESSOR STEPHEN Hawking’s former nurse has been struck off the nursing register after she was found to have failed to provide him with appropriate care.

Patricia Dowdy had been employed to care for the world-renowned scientist for 15 years.

The investigation into her conduct was prompted after a complaint had been lodged by Hawking’s immediate family. Dowdy, 61, had faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she provided to Hawking.

Yesterday, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found that Dowdy did not provide the standard of care that “Professor Hawking deserved”.

In addition to the charges in relation to the care she provided, Dowdy also charged with financial misconduct, dishonesty, not providing appropriate care, failing to cooperate with the NMC and not having the correct qualifications.

Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, said: “The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.”

He added: “As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this – where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise – we will take action.

“We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them - as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking’s death – and others for sharing their concerns with us. My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

“As the regulator, we will always listen when concerns about the fitness of nurses, midwives or nursing associates are raised with us so that we can investigate further for the benefit of everyone involved.”

Responding to the result of the hearing, a spokesperson for the Hawking family said: “They had complete confidence in the NMC, and their thorough investigation, and trusted they would come to an independent conclusion based on the facts in the case.”

As a result of the decision of the NMC panel, Dowdy will no longer be able to practise as a nurse.

At the weekend it emerged that Dowdy has been subjected to an interim suspension in 2016.

The hearing was held behind closed doors and details of the allegations have not been made public.

Hawking, who lived with motor neurone disease for more than 50 years, died at his home in Cambridge in March last year. He was 76 years old.

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