Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley General Hospital nurse struck off for inquest deceit

A nurse who lied about her decision to deprive an elderly man of one-to-one care has been struck off.

Patricia Fawcett decided to remove a junior nurse from providing dedicated care to the patient while in charge of a ward at Barnsley General Hospital.

When he died, she failed to tell her employers of her decision but admitted the truth at the inquest, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

Ms Fawcett admitted misleading a coroner.

The NMC panel concluded Ms Fawcett had "deliberately omitted" to tell bosses she had removed the one-to-one care and then "deliberately mislead" the inquest, before admitting the facts.

It found her conduct was "fundamentally incompatible with continuing to be a registered nurse".

NMC panel chair Edward Lucas said: "Ms Fawcett breached the honesty and trustworthiness which are the bedrock of the nursing profession."

The panel heard the patient had been admitted to the hospital's ward 21 in March 2008 suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Investigation launched

He absconded on 16 April and was later found in the road and taken to accident and emergency.

On his return to the ward he was put under special measures - meaning he should receive round-the-clock, one-to-one care.

However, on 24 April Ms Fawcett told the auxiliary nurse charged with providing that care to accompany her on a ward round.

The patient died on 27 April, sparking a hospital investigation into the care he received and an inquest.

A witness told the panel that during the inquest Ms Fawcett was asked why she had not mentioned removing the nurse in her statement and she had replied that she did not know.

The witness said the coroner had suggested she had failed to include the detail because she "knew it was wrong", to which Ms Fawcett answered "probably".

Ms Fawcett did not attend the hearing and was not represented.

In a letter sent to the NMC in March 2012 Ms Fawcett said: "Yes, I removed [the nurse] a written risk assessment was not done but a mental risk assessment was completed on the knowledge I had."

A spokeswoman for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said Ms Fawcett was dismissed in September 2009 due to "gross misconduct and bringing the Trust into disrepute".

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