Much of the literature relating to suspension and discipline within nursing is found in the USA where suspension is a form of discipline that occurs after an investigation and hearing has concluded. This is of limited relevance as in the UK a nurse is suspended before the hearing and whilst the allegations are being investigated. Therefore, the literature had to be carefully reviewed in the light of differences in the meaning of suspension between the UK and USA. Every year, unknown but considerable numbers of NHS staff (other than doctors and dentists in England) are unjustly/unnecessarily suspended/excluded from work. This was established by the National Audit Office Report (NAO 2003 p.11) into suspensions and there appeared to be no improvement found somewhat three years later when a journalist using the Freedom of Information Act, discovered that the numbers of excluded staff still ran into hundreds at least (Roper 2006). The Department of Health may not be aware of the scale of the problem as it does not gather data on clinical staff other than doctors and dentists (NAO 2003 p.11). The Daily Mirror reported the cost of these suspensions to be up to £100 million (Roper 2006). This figure could be much higher due
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