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Dublin midwife accused of poor professional performance

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A Dublin nurse and midwife has been accused of poor professional performance over her treatment and care of nine pregnant women including her failure to be able to operate baby resuscitation equipment during a difficult birth in 2015.

A fitness-to-practise hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) on Friday was told that Brenda McGarrity, also known as Brenda Lawrence, had been the subject of complaints by her employer which had resulted in her facing 13 allegations of poor professional performance and a failure to comply with her professional code of conduct.

They included two incidents where she allegedly failed to adequately set up resuscitation equipment for newborn babies and another of failing to monitor a foetal heartbeat for an adequate period.

In one case, Ms McGarrity is accused of claiming she had performed a clinical emergency during a delivery in November 2015 and notifying the National Maternity Hospital about the incident, when she knew it was untrue as the baby had been born without complications.

She was accused of communicating in an unprofessional and inappropriate manner with two clients including one case where she took blood pressure against a patient’s will and also instructed her to get out of a pool when not clinically necessary.

One complaint related to her failure to carry out regular monitoring of the foetal heartbeat and the mother’s temperature.

The FTP hearing was told that Ms McGarrity had also experienced difficulty in conducting a heel-prick test on another baby.

It was also alleged that Ms McGarrity failed to keep adequate records about the care of three other women as well as making inappropriate comments about a colleague and a client to one of her superiors.

Ms McGarrity referred to one woman who had made a complaint against her as “miserable and poisonous” who would not want her medical history dragged into the public arena if she tried to sue the midwife.

Counsel for the NMBI, Nessa Bird BL, said if the allegations are proven, Ms McGarrity would have posed a risk to patients’ care and brought the profession into disrepute.

Ms McGarrity, of Castleheath, Malahide, Co Dublin, who has not practised as a midwife since 2016, did not attend the hearing and was not legally represented.

Ms Bird said the midwife had informed the board earlier this year that she was awaiting surgery and wanted the FTP hearing to be deferred but then did not respond to further contacts.

She said Ms McGarrity had indicated she considered the allegations against her as vexatious.

The hearing was told that the midwife claimed she was being bullied and the subject of malicious complaints because she had taken a Workplace Relations Commission case against her employer.

In one email, Ms McGarrity replied that her blood pressure was so high that she was at risk of having a stroke.

The complaint was made by UK Birth Centres, the parent company of Private Midwives Ireland (PMI), the Santry-based firm which employed Ms McGarrity between April 2015 and June 2016.

It claimed it had concerns about her clinical competence, record keeping, communications and a failure to ensure she had adequate training.

Clinical abilities

Dr Linda Bryceland, PMI’s director of midwifery, gave evidence she knew of Ms McGarrity from the UK when they both worked at the Wirral Teaching University Hospital when she was responsible for dismissing the midwife after she was convicted for tax credit fraud.

Despite being apprehensive about rehiring Ms McGarrity given her history, Dr Bryceland said she gave her another chance with PMI as she never had any clinical concerns about her before.

Dr Bryceland said it became clear after she started an initiation period that the midwife had not completed the training courses that she had claimed at her job interview.

She expressed shock at how many serious clinical concerns also arose shortly afterwards about Ms McGarrity.

She said a number of midwives raised concerns about Ms McGarrity’s clinical abilities.

The witness told the FTP hearing that she was pleased to have been made aware that Ms McGarrity had dealt with a shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder is trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone) during a live birth on November 3rd, 2015 as she had been concerned that she would be able to perform key skills during an emergency.

However, she was subsequently informed by another midwife that it had been a normal birth.

After the incident, Dr Bryceland said she arranged training for Ms McGarrity but the midwife never attended the course.

Dr Bryceland said Ms McGarrity had repeatedly threatened to resign when concerns about her clinical competence and conduct were raised.

She told the hearing that the midwife had also accused her of bullying and made a complaint about her to the NMBI.

A PMI midwife, Elizabeth Halliday, said she became concerned about Ms McGarrity during a “fairly straightforward” potential resuscitation when she appeared “quite panicked and quite frightened.”

Ms Halliday said the midwife had not reacted in the way one would have expected with the experience she claimed she had.

She was “shocked and surprised” that Ms McGarrity admitted she never had neonatal resuscitation training.

The hearing was adjourned until a future date.

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Johann van Graan non-committal on prospect of Conor Murray return

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Johann van Graan was somewhat less than adamant that Conor Murray will make his seasonal re-appearance in their United Rugby Championship (URC) fifth round match away to the Ospreys next Saturday night, which is just two weeks out from the first of Ireland’s November test series, with the All Blacks to follow a week later.

“He might possibly be involved next week,” said the Munster head coach after their latest act of escapology to beat Connacht 20-18 at Thomond Park on Saturday night.

Might possibly?

“We’ll see how the week goes. We’ve taken our time with his recovery, so if he comes through the week then we’ll make a call at the back end of the week whether we’re going to select him or not.”

Van Graan assured us that Murray is not injured.

“No, he’s good. He had non-23 training on Friday so really looking forward to getting him involved.”

Van Graan wore the smile of a relieved man after Connacht had pushed them to the wire with a clever, fired-up all-round display in a spicy derby, during which the lead changed hands five times.

“I think if you look at the table, it’s three Irish teams at the top. Connacht are always such a big team in the interpros and you’ve got to give credit to them. Last season they beat all three of the Irish teams away.

“That’s why the players and the coaches and the supporters, and everybody involved loves an interpro, because that’s what you get. It’s not a classic but for the purist it’s a battle.

“That’s what the game is about and that’s why Irish rugby is in such a good place because they have got four top teams and some very good players across the four teams. That was a grind from our side, and proud of the way we finished that with that try and the conversion,” he said in reference to Diarmuid Barron’s 78th minute try and Joey Carbery’s nerveless conversion.

His counterpart, Andy Friend, was left with immense pride in his team’s performance mixed with acute frustration at their infuriating inconsistency and key mistakes, not least at restart receptions, but also the key decisions that went against his team.

Most notable of these was the failure by TMO Brian MacNeice and referee Chris Busby to spot that Tadhg Beirne was clearly in front of the ball before hacking on Rory Scannell’s crosskick in the build-up to Chris Cloete’s 39th minute try.

“I’ve got to be careful here,” he said when asked if he felt Connacht don’t receive a fair rub of the green from officials. “I’ve been here three and a bit years, mate, and if it’s a 50-50 I rarely see it going our way.

“I know that, but listen we’ve got to keep pushing our limits and making sure that we’re trying to be as squeaky clean as we can with things. I’m just…. to me, that try and the missed offside there – that’s inexcusable. Whether it’s Connacht or somebody else, I don’t know, it’s just inexcusable.”

To compound his frustrations, nor does the URC have channels to go through.

“We don’t have a referees’ manager, so I’m assuming that URC will be looking at that and hopefully something happens to the TMO that missed it. But it doesn’t help us, mate.”

Putting his own team’s errors into perspective, Friend highlighted their lineout pressure, strike plays, kicking and defence.

“On the whole the majority was really good, there’ll always be elements we need to work on. Otherwise we’d be out of a job.”

With next Saturday’s home game against Ulster at the Aviva in mind, Friend said: “What we will use is that we know we’re a good football side.

“We’ve just pushed a good Munster team who haven’t looked like losing a game this year and have played some really good rugby.

“We’ve turned up at their home field, where we beat them last season, knowing full well there was going to be a kick-back and we pushed them all the way to their limits.

“So, we know we’re a good football side. Our blip last week (against the Dragons) was a blip. We just have to make sure we never drop to that again and we keep our standards high.”

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Irish man (24) who drowned in swimming pool in Marbella is named

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A 24-year-old man who drowned in a swimming pool near Marbella in Spain has been named locally in Co Clare as Irish Defence Forces member Gerard McMahon.

Authorities responded to a distress call at 10.25am on Friday. The alarm was raised by friends who found Mr McMahon lifeless in the pool.

Spanish authorities are treating the death of the holiday maker as a “tragic accident”.

Mr McMahon lived in the Killaloe area of Co Clare. Local priest Fr Jerry O’Brien confirmed he had met the family of the young man and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the community.

Ogonnelloe GAA posted a tribute to Mr McMahon who was well known and liked in the community.

“It is with profound shock and sadness that we learned today of the sudden passing of our young member and friend, Gerard McMahon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Pat and Carmel, his sister Bríd, and all the McMahon family at this extremely difficult time.”

The club Facebook page posted a picture of Mr McMahon from 2016 when he and his team mates won the Division 3 League.

Scarriff Hurling also paid tribute to Mr McMahon who played for them at juvenile level. “Always with pride, great skill and giving all to the team and club.”

Meanwhile, local Fine Gael councillor Joe Cooney said the family of the young man were in the thoughts and prayers of the community.

Mr McMahon was a Private in the First Infantry Battalion in Renmore Barracks in Galway. St Patrick’s Garrison Church posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers for Mr McMahon and for his “family and comrades”.

A postmortem was expected to take place over the weekend at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Malaga.

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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Don’t waste energy switching

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For years, Money Mail has urged readers to regularly switch energy supplier.

It wasn’t the most glamorous money-saving tip, but sticking with your existing provider meant you were almost certainly overpaying. 

And the return on this straightforward, mundane chore was lucrative, with households saving hundreds of pounds a year. But for now, you should forget all that.

The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices. And the market remains incredibly volatile, with experts struggling to predict what will happen over the coming months.

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers   

This means suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, are just not able to offer competitive fixed deals.

Some comparison websites are still running an energy switching service, but there are only a handful of tariffs listed. 

And, as we reported last week, some would cost the average household almost £3,000 a year.

So for now, your best course of action is to stay put.

If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal, roll onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff. 

These default deals are protected by the energy watchdog’s price cap — £1,277 a year for the average gas and electricity user — until April 2022. And there are no exit fees, so you are free to switch away the moment better deals return.

For those who signed up to ultra‑cheap deals a year or two ago, there is no getting away from the fact that your bills are going to rise. 

But locking into a new fixed deal now could mean you’re hit with even higher energy costs over the cold winter months.

To avoid adding to any confusion, Money Mail has temporarily removed all energy tariffs from our Best Buys tables. 

But rest assured, we are tracking the market closely and will update you as soon as something changes.

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can't offer competitive fixed deals

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can’t offer competitive fixed deals

Tip top!

While on the topic of rising bills, a big thank you to everyone for their top energy-saving tips after I publicly scolded my husband, Chris, last week.

Money Mail reader Molly Clark suggests leaving the oven open after cooking so not to waste the heat, using candles for softer lighting and ditching the dishwasher in favour of a good old-fashioned washing-up bowl. 

Another reader, Robert, goes a step further and washes his dishes with cold water. 

A small squirt from a 29p bottle of diluted white vinegar along with a dash of washing-up liquid on a little green fabric scouring cloth used in circular motions will ensure they are squeaky-clean, he assures me.

But I was most taken by Julie Priest’s suggestion of a fridge alarm that will go off when the door is left open.

Amazon has one with a ‘repeated siren’ mode — and if that doesn’t teach Chris to close it, I don’t know what will.

But at £21.99, I might stick to nagging for now.

Keep those tips coming!

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix's Squid Game)

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix’s Squid Game)

Need for Netflix

It’s fascinating to see how our spending priorities have changed since the pandemic.

Take the popular streaming service Netflix. Once a luxury, a monthly subscription is now considered essential, according to a report by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association published yesterday. 

One pensioner commented that their partner’s quality of life would just not be the same without it.

Another man from Wales said that he had not realised how important dining out was for ’emotional well-being’.

But as the cost of living soars, experts fear people could cut back on pension saving. With many already failing to put aside enough for the lifestyle they want in retirement, this could prove disastrous.

So if you have spare cash leftover at the end of the month, consider using it to give your future self a better life.

It could be me…

Inspired by a colleague, I bought my first ever EuroMillions lottery ticket last Friday. It was a rollover with a juicy £174million jackpot, and I was feeling lucky.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. But what fun I had daydreaming about what I’d do with such a windfall. 

And since no one scooped the prize money, I figured there was no harm in having one more go in last night’s record £184million draw. Who knows, I could be a multi-millionaire by the time you read this.

v.bischoff@dailymail.co.uk

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