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Allegation or Complaints

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Allegation or Complaints


What are allegations or complaints?

Allegations or complaints according tot he Liberian Board for Nursing and Midwifery are concerns about a nurse or midwife people believe is putting the safety or patient or the public at risk. If someone believes the public health and well being are at immediate or serious risk the LBNM should be contacted immediately. Don’t wait until its too late.

Who do you contact when you have an allegation or complaint?

It may be appropriate to first notify the nurse or midwife employer (hospital, clinic, health center) of your concern who might intervene quickly and fairly by doing their own investigations. if you think your concerns are not being addressed properly or if you thing the nurse or midwife presents an immediate danger to the health and safety of the public, you should contact us immediately.

Do you want the allegation to be officially investigated?

Sometimes members of the public call the Board to make us aware of an issue, but ask us not to take any further action. When this occur, we generally respect the person’s view and will not start an investigation because we have not been given the persons consent to use as evidence. However, we will launch our own investigation if we believe the public safety is at risk and use other means to gather evidence.

Is the allegation about a nurse or midwife's conduct outside of the hospital, clinic or health center?

To investigate an allegation that involves a nurse or midwife’s conduct outside of her workplace, the Board will only do so if the allegation suggests that the nurse or midwife’s actions or behavior puts the patients or the public at risk or if the actions or behavior result in a legal conviction.

Presenting a complaint to the Liberian Board for Nursing and Midwifery
How to make a complaint or allegation
An allegation or complaint on a nurse or midwife to the Board must:
Identify the name of the nurse or midwife.
Clearly explain the allegation or complaint.
Must be written and be supported by the appropriate information or allegation.
How long will the investigation take?

The time it takes from an initial complaint to be investigated to a final decision depends on

How complex the case is
The availability of evidence and witnesses
How quickly people respond at different stages of the investigation
Final Decision
Writing a Complaint

When writing a complaint the following information is needed

The person you are complaining about
Telephone Number
Email address if possible
The Nurse or Midwife being accused
Place of Work
And as much information as possible
Description of the person
A clear summary and detailed account of the complaint
Incidents relating to the complaint
Clear details of the incident in relation to the complaint, including when, where, who was there and the circumstances surrounding the incident
Details of the witnesses
Any other action taken
Any other agency that may have been contacted on this matter (police, supervisor, regulatory body).
Investigating the Complaint
Initial Assessment
Confirm receipt of complaint
Name of person making complaint
Name and number of contact person dealing with complaint and keeping complainant informed
Check to ascertain nurse or midwife on our register
Check to see if the complaint is in the LBNM's mandate to investigate. If nature of complaint is not within our mandate the Board will inform Complainant
If a case falls within our mandate and LBNM is satisfied, LBNM will work with complainant and nurse or midwife employer to undertake an initial assessment of of the case and collect the necessary information in preparation for an investigation.
Sometimes during the initial assessment stage, one might find out that the complaint is better handled by the administrator, supervisor or local employer than the LBNM. (e.g.; incident is a single isolated case, or a minor error to raise concerns about the nurse or midwife fitness to practice)
Other times the seriousness of the allegation or complaint may require the Board to take immediate action to protect the public. If the situation is so, the case will be referred for immediate action tot he disciplinary ethics committee to suspend or stop the nurse or midwife from practicing to thoroughly investigate the complaint.
Initial Assessment
When preparing for an investigation, the LBNM will always send the nurse or midwife a copy of the complaint and supporting information and invite them to submit a written response.
In some cases, LBNM may send part or all of the nurse or midwife's response to the allegations or complaints back to the complainant as part of the Board's preparation to investigate the case.
If you bring a complaint to the Board's office, do not send the Board any information or evidence if you are not prepared for the Board to share with the nurse or midwife you have complained about.
The complainant should let anyone named as a witness know they are passing their information to us and LBNM may call them to give evidence.
Witnesses may or may not be called to give evidence at a hearing.
Confidentiality is the hallmark of the Board and all documents or information to the nurse or midwife concerned is warned they can only use the information purely for the purpose of defending themselves against the complaint or allegation.
The Decision

The disciplinary and ethical committee makes a decision on whether or not a midwife or nurse is fit to stay on the register. Using the Labor Law as proof, there are three stages to the decision making process.

Did the findings prove or not prove anything
Is the nurse or midwife fitness to practice at fault
What actions are required to protect the public

Whatsoever decisions the committee makes is not intended to punish individuals but to protect the health and well being of the public. However the action the committee takes will take into action other factors such as:

Previous disciplinary action taken, and how the nurse or midwife in question has responded to this
Availability of training and support
Staffing issues which might have affected the nurse or midwife performance (stock out, insufficient staffing levels, etc.)
unreasonable role demands
Unfit to Practice

If the disciplinary committee finds a nurse or midwife unfit to practice, the Chairperson shall develop disciplinary procedures in consultation with the Board and Legal Counsel.

It will decide either not to take any action or to take one of the following actions:

A reprimand; and or penalty: the Committee reprimands or levy a penalty on the nurse or midwife only and does not stop them from working
Suspension denial: Suspend, deny or revoke the license of the nurse or midwife from practicing for a set period of time not exceeding six months. The committee will review the suspension before the expiration date and may replace, extend the suspension or denial of renewal of licensure at the time.
Revoke: The Committee will recommend removal of the nurse or midwife from the register. The nurse or midwife will not be allowed to practice again in Liberia
Other corrective action such as, but not limited to re-taking the licensure examination, supervised clinical practice, repeating an accreditation program.
After the Hearing

The Liberian Board for Nursing and Midwifery will write to the complainant and the nurse or midwife concerned to advise them of the outcome of the case.

If you are not satisfied with a particular decision or an actin taken by the committee, particularly where a person has lost a friend, loved one or suffered some distress, we are sorry and empathize with you in these situations. The Board as a  regulator is not able to punish people for misdemeanors. Of course, people are free to look at other ways than the Board. (e.g a civil or criminal case)

In some cases also, the Board will receive appeals if someone considers the outcome of the case or action taken inappropriate. We encourage and advice all complainants, nurses, and midwives of their rights to appeal at the relevant stage of their case to the Ministry of Health, Republic of Liberia.