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Decision to suspend nurse for 12 months is confirmed despite serious omission

By: James Cross BL

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High Court, despite noting a serious omission in the decision of the Nursing and Midwifery Board to reduce the suspension of a nurse for professional misconduct from 18 months to 12 months, whereby the conditions attached do not address the situation where the nurse did not obtain a clean bill of health after the 12-month period, confirms the decision of the board given the limited role of the court in these applications.

Fitness to practise – application to confirm the decision of the Fitness to Practise Committee where the nurse did not make an appeal within the time allowed by the legislation - only basis upon which the court could refuse to give effect to a decision of the Board would be in the event of the court concluding that the decision was either a wholly unreasonable one or that some other serious legal infirmity affected the decision of the Board – nurse forged doctor’s signature and made a prescription which purported to be from him – guilty of professional misconduct – caused prescriptions to be written for stock - true purpose was to obtain the drugs for self-administration – arranged for prescriptions to be signed for an improper benefit – added medications to prescriptions already signed - presentation for dispensing of those prescriptions – administration of the prescriptions - writing of one or more prescriptions in her own favour without the knowledge of the doctor – medical disability, history of dependence on medications, which might impair her ability to practise nursing – sanction - suspended from the Register for a period of eighteen months - rationale for deciding not to recommend that she be struck off - Committee believed that its recommendation protected the public and the reputation of the nursing profession – Board Hearing – decided to alter the sanction – reasons not apparent - recommended a reduction in the period of suspension from 18 to 12 months - no basis as to why it made that decision to differ from the Committee – alternative conditions – conditions fail to address the situation if the nurse failed to get a clean bill of health - cannot rewrite the conditions – draw the Board’s attention to the omission – confirm the decision –

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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