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Constructive dismissal: Midwife who flew to Outer Hebrides 'had no choice'

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A midwife who left her ward to fly to a remote Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides to escort a mum-to-be to hospital "had no choice", according to a top NHS nurse.

Kathy McLean, a former chairwoman of the professional conduct committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and now an NHS 24 clinical service manager, said Anne Duffy made the right decision in flying by air ambulance to the island of Benbecula, since if the mother had not been airlifted there was a possibility she and her baby would have died.

Managers at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley said Ms Duff acted inappropriately in leaving her ward, however, which resulted in her resigning from her job last September and claiming constructive dismissal.

Representing Ms Duff, Alistair Cockburn asked Ms McLean what a midwife should do when faced with a decision that compromises hospital policy.

Ms McLean said: "There is no question. Irrespective of policy, you are accountable for your practice.

"Ms Duffy had no choice. If she had not done it, it would be gross misconduct. She had to go."

She added: "You must act without delay if you believe that you may be putting someone at risk. You are personally accountable and must be able to justify decisions."

The case continues.

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