Swindon nurse who mistook blood for jam suspended

A nurse who mistook blood around a patient's mouth for jam has been suspended for 12 months.

The error was one of 29 charges considered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council's disciplinary panel against Denise Joyce Reed.

Mrs Reed's "fitness to practise was impaired by lack of competence" at Swindon's Great Western Hospital (GWH), between August 2009 and 2010.

The GWH Trust said she was dismissed from her job there in January 2011.

The panel, sitting in London, said suspending Mrs Reed, who did not attend the hearing, "is the only sanction which will be sufficient to protect patients".

'Dismissive to patients'

It heard evidence from 12 members of the hospital's nursing staff who had worked with Mrs Reed, a registered nurse.

Colleagues said her attitude was "dismissive towards the concerns of patients" and she "failed to appreciate the seriousness of her failings".

The panel heard concerns were raised regarding Mrs Reed's proficiency in August 2009, resulting in a period of supervised practice in November and December.

Evidence was given that demonstrated "even whilst under supervision, she had placed patients at risk of harm".

In a statement Hilary Walker, Chief Nurse at the GWH said: "We can confirm that no harm came to any patients as a result of the concerns raised."

Mrs Reed was transferred to a different ward where further concerns about her proficiency were raised, before she was suspended from work on 5 January 2010.

She was dismissed in April 2010 following a disciplinary hearing, but was reinstated on appeal.

'Serious harm'

She was then employed in a non-clinical position and returned to a staff nurse position in July 2010 under supervised practice.

Further doubts about her capability were raised and in August 2010 her supervised practice was abandoned and she was subsequently dismissed by the trust.

After hearing all the evidence the panel concluded "there remains a real risk of repetition and serious harm to patients if Mrs Reed were to return to practice without restriction".

The panel made an interim suspension order for 18 months to allow for any appeal process.

If Mrs Reed does not lodge an appeal within 28 days, the interim order will lapse and will be replaced by the substantive order.

Mrs Reed's case will be reviewed shortly before the suspension expires.

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