NURSE Pauline Cafferkey has claimed she was made a “scapegoat” for failings in the screening system for medical staff returning from Ebola-hit countries.

Ms Cafferkey, 40, who contracted the virus and successfully fought it off, was speaking just days after being cleared of any wrongdoing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council at a hearing in Edinburgh.

Ms Cafferkey, of Crossgates, Fife, who is based in Blantyre, now wants a probe into the actions of Public Health England officials, who cleared her to fly home to Scotland with the virus.

Read more: Dental survey that cost taxpayers £37,000 receives only one response

She was publicly accused of trying to conceal her temperature and acting in a reckless manner by leaving the Public Health England (PHE) screening area at Heathrow Airport in December 2014 without permission and bringing the nursing profession into disrepute.

Miss Cafferkey told the Mail on Sunday: “I went out there to help save lives but I came back to a system that failed. I was made a scapegoat for a catalogue of errors.PHE were entirely responsible. They, not me, put public lives at risk by allowing me to fly before they had an opinion from an infectious diseases official.

She added: ‘It’s been awful being thought of as dishonest. It’s like my reputation had been destroyed, even though I knew I had done nothing wrong.

Read more: Dental survey that cost taxpayers £37,000 receives only one response

‘I feel tremendous relief that I can finally talk about it and that I’ve been believed.

“For a long time, I felt guilty about having walked out of the screening area.

“In my mind, I really thought I was to blame for something that could have put the public at risk. Instead, I was told after a while: ‘It’s fine, you can make your flight’. I feel let down that they knew I had a fever yet they failed to protect me. I think they’ve been pretty irresponsible. They didn’t do their jobs properly.

“I should have been sent to the infectious diseases unit from Heathrow – not allowed to get on a plane to Glasgow.

“I feel very bitter that this has been turned around on me and I’m the one they’ve tried to make a scapegoat for their failings.”

Read more: Dental survey that cost taxpayers £37,000 receives only one response

A PHE spokeswoman said it had “nothing further to add” to the description of events at last week’s hearing.

Professor Paul Cosford, Director of Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE said: “There is an agreed version of facts between the NMC and Pauline Cafferkey and her representatives and this description goes beyond these.

“PHE screened thousands of returners from countries most at risk of Ebola and did so with efficiency and courtesy throughout. We have nothing further to add.”