Polish woman trained as a midwife in the UK but never delivered a baby after NHS bosses realised she couldn’t speak English

by learn a language journalist

A POLISH NHS midwife was dismissed without ever delivering a baby – after bosses found out she could not understand English.

Barbara Fall, 35, was employed as a maternity support worker for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in June 2016, at a recruitment fair.

Barbara Fall was trained as an NHS midwife but did not deliver a baby after her bosses realised she could barely understand English

Trust insiders recall her colleagues being immediately concerned about her “capacity to speak English because she would not answer the phone”.

One said: “She never delivered any children. She started a midwife preceptorship programme but was seen as incapable.”

In January 2017, she was given an immediate pay boost from £18k to £22k when she started training to become a midwife.

But she was quietly demoted when colleagues at Burnley General Teaching Hospital realised she could not grasp what they were saying.

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Barbara was first taken on as a support worker for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in June 2016

Mrs Fall did not sit the International English Language Testing System Test because nurses were not required to when she registered to work in the UK.

When she finally sat the test in January this year, her understanding of English was rated only four out of ten. She scored five in reading and writing and had an overall score of 5.5.

Mrs Fall issued a two-sentence statement to the Council – which included two spelling mistakes: “that” instead of “than” and “cannot” as “can not”.

The minimum required is seven – which she only achieved in speaking English, not writing it, an NMC disciplinary panel was told.

Mrs Fall later accepted that her English was substandard.

Trust Executive Director of Nursing Chris Pearson said: “Patient safety is, and always will be our priority.


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“A good command of the English language is essential for safe, personal and effective care. In this case, the person never worked here unsupervised as a midwife.

“She carried out the role of a support worker while she sought to improve her English.

“She was unable to acquire the necessary standard and the Nursing and Midwifery Council determined that her fitness to practise was subsequently impaired.”

Celebrities find out what is really like working on the frontline of the NHS on BBC’s ‘Celebrities on the NHS Frontline’

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