Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire nurses wrongly recorded waiting times

Tracey-Ann White and Sharon Turner (left to right)
Image caption Tracey-Ann White and Sharon Turner have been found to have inaccurately recorded waiting times

Two nurses from Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust have been found to have inaccurately recorded patient waiting times in accident and emergency.

The failings by Sharon Turner and Tracey-Ann White, on various dates between 2000 and 2010, were to avoid breaches of the four-hour target.

It is one of the first full hearings into nurses from Stafford by a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel.

The regulator's hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

'Get real'

The panel will assess their fitness to practise.

Both nurses, who denied all allegations, were found to have instructed staff to transfer patients to wards with soiled sheets.

The hearing was told Turner had ordered one staff nurse to tell another to "lie about it" in reference to the target breaches.

Between December 2003 and October 2009, when Turner worked at the trust, she spoke about patients and staff in an "inappropriate manner", the panel ruled.

Turner was found to have racially abused junior doctors of Asian origin, referring to "the suicide bombers".

The panel ruled Turner made inappropriate comments about three other colleagues.

On hearing one had been admitted to hospital after an overdose, she said words to the effect of: "He should have taken a few more pills and done the job properly", the panel found.

In relation to patients, she said "they want to get real", the hearing was told.

The panel ruled most elements of the six charges of misconduct against her, including falsifying records, failings over patient care and making inappropriate comments about patients and staff, were "proved".

'Can wait'

But it also ruled some elements, such as referring to a nurse as a "junior muppet", were not proved.

Between July 2000 and July 2010 White was accused of inaccurately recording patient discharge times from A&E and ordering other colleagues to follow her example.

White faced five charges of misconduct, but the facts were not proved for one of the charges.

An allegation of falsifying computer records for the time a patient was admitted to A&E was dropped.

The panel also ruled the facts were "not proved" for some elements of the other allegations against her.

The trust was at the centre of a public inquiry after it was found poor care could have led to the deaths of hundreds of patients as a result of maltreatment and neglect.

Chief executive at the trust Maggie Oldham said: "Tracey White is still employed by the trust and works as a clinical site manager.

"We will need to take some time to consider the Nursing and Midwifery Council panel's findings once they announce their decisions.

"Sharon Turner is no longer employed by the trust. She left her emergency department sister post in September 2009."

Stafford Hospital campaigner Julie Bailey, of Cure the NHS, said the group was pleased the NMC had "proven the case against these two nurses, but sad it has taken so long".

She said: "This case helps to expose all that is wrong in the NHS.

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