School nurse who waited six days to raise the alarm over suicidal schoolgirl who later killed herself is cleared of misconduct

The Mail is reporting that a school nurse accused of waiting nearly a week to refer a suicidal schoolgirl to mental health services has been cleared of misconduct…

Donna Moore should have alerted doctors within 48 hours of discovering Helena Farrell told her of an attempted overdose, a tribunal had heard.

But the Nursing and Midwifery Council yesterday ruled that time taken by the nurse to refer the case to mental health professionals was ‘reasonable’.

The teenager, who suffered from bulimia, depression and had self-harmed in the past, killed herself three weeks after meeting Moore in December 2012.

She was found hanged near the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, Cumbria, on January 4 last year.

An inquest heard Helena had been forced to change schools after being bullied for having red hair and a posh accent and had then been left heartbroken when her boyfriend split from her.

Moore, a nurse at Kirkbie Kendal School, Cumbria, first saw Helena on December 4, 2012, and noticed potential mental health problems, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

The tribunal had heard claims Helena should have been seen as ‘high-risk’ and referred to mental health workers within ’24 to 48′ hours of the meeting.

But her solicitor Stephen Graham told the hearing it was a ‘cruel misrepresentation’ of the evidence to suggest that Moore could have done more to prevent Helena’s death.

‘We have heard evidence of the fact that school nurses had no training to assist them in recognising potential issues around suicide and self-harm,’ he said.

Mr Graham claimed Moore had, in effect, submitted her referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMS) within two working days, considering her heavy workload and that she worked part time

The tribunal ruled that she should face no charge to answer in respect of failing to make a referral to CAMS in a reasonable period of time.

She also has no charge to answer in failing to refer Helena to children’s services, or of failing to complete a safeguarding profile for Helena…

More at: School nurse who waited six days to raise the alarm over suicidal schoolgirl who later killed herself is cleared of misconduct


Sounds like clearer or better procedures might be called for in situations like this? What do you think?


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Categories: Health.


  1. 5N_Afzal

    She referred within 2 working days. Question then is what action was taken afer the referral? The sad reality is that services are stretched to breaking point. Till there is more investment in this field (more personnel, better training) then I’m afraid there is always the possibility that something like this may happen.

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