Ipswich nurse who cared for Stephen Hawking struck off

Professor Stephen Hawking Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Professor Stephen Hawking Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The former nurse of legendary scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking has been struck off after a panel found she did not give appropriate care to the renowned physicist.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said on Tuesday, March 12, that Patricia Dowdy, who is from Ipswich, “failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved”.

The 61-year-old, faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she provided to the scientist.

Professor Hawking died in March last year at the age of 76, having lived with motor neurone disease for more than 50 years.

It is understood Dowdy worked for the Cambridge University scientist and author of A Brief History of Time for 15 years.


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The NMC said the charges included financial misconduct, dishonesty, not providing appropriate care, failing to co-operate with the nursing watchdog 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.

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“As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practise as a nurse. 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. My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

The hearing was seen in private,

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said on Monday that hearings are sometimes held in private to keep information confidential.

“That is the basis upon which this particular hearing was conducted in private and I stand by that decision,” she wrote in a blog post.

“No public interest is served by exposing the details of the health or care of an individual whose anonymity may not be guaranteed in an open hearing.”

A spokesman for the family said: “The Hawking family are relieved this traumatic ordeal has now concluded and that as a result of the verdict, others will not have to go through what they suffered. They want to thank the NMC for their thorough investigation.”

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