Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey's disciplinary case to hear more evidence


A watchdog probing Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey's actions as she returned to the UK with the virus will continue to hear evidence later.

On Tuesday a disciplinary panel heard allegations the Scottish nurse, 40, "potentially put the public at risk" through her behaviour as she passed through screening at Heathrow on arrival from West Africa in late 2014.

The panel also heard claims the Scottish medical worker's conduct had "undermined" public trust and confidence in the nursing profession.

But the nurse's legal team pointed to her "previously unblemished record" and insisted the legal threshold for a finding of misconduct against her has not been met.

The allegations were made by a lawyer for the Nursing and Midwifery Council on the first day of the hearing in Edinburgh.

Accusations that she acted dishonestly during her return to Heathrow were dropped after the panel ruled there was no reasonable prospect of them being proved.

She remains accused of allowing an incorrect temperature to be recorded during the screening process at the airport and of leaving the screening area at Heathrow without reporting her true temperature.

A high temperature is deemed to be an early sign of an infection.

The panel was told that Ms Cafferkey was among a group of doctors and nurses returning to Heathrow after a six-week deployment to Sierra Leone.

In agreed evidence put before the panel, it was said that screening staff from Public Health England at the airport "were not properly prepared to receive so many travellers from at risk countries" and this resulted in the area being described by some of those present as "busy, disorganised and even chaotic".

The nurse was cleared for onward travel, arrived in Glasgow late in the evening and awoke feeling "very unwell" the following day, December 29 2014. She was diagnosed with Ebola the same day and spent almost a month being treated in an isolation unit at London's Royal Free Hospital.

The volunteer recovered, but had two further admissions to hospital - one with a relapse of the Ebola virus and the other with chronic meningitis.