Sacked Stoke Mandeville nurse suspended by watchdog

Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Stoke Mandeville Hospital
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A nurse sacked by Stoke Mandeville Hospital for gross misconduct has been suspended from working for 18 months.

Janet Penson was given the ban by the Nursing and Midwifery Council because it thought there may be a risk to patient safety if she continued to practise.

The hospital claimed Mrs Penson failed to observe a patient admitted on July 4, 2012, and did not ‘escalate the deterioration’ in their condition, with the patient subsequently sent to intensive care.

Mrs Penson has also admitted that on July 23 and 24, 2012, she gave a patient an antibiotic but did not document doing so.

On the same dates, it was alleged Mrs Penson did not set up a sliding scale for a patient in her care. The patient also self administered medication, despite being classed as ‘nil by mouth’.

The council’s report said: “When Mrs Penson became aware the patient had self administered she did not document this in the patient’s medical notes or raise the issue with the medical team for further investigation.”

It was later discovered the nurse did not complete the ‘early warning scores’ of a third patient in her care during the shift.

As a result of the July 23 and 24 incidents, it was agreed Mrs Penson would not work night shifts, would be mentored and would not administer any drugs.

However, the hospital alleged that in September 2012 she broke this agreement by signing for controlled drugs from a porter.

The watchdog’s report said: “In the subsequent investigation it was alleged that Mrs Penson stated she thought she had been signing for a snack box and was unable to explain how a controlled drug bag was found in the clinical room the following day.”

She was then fired and her case referred to the nursing council.

At a panel hearing at London’s Old Bailey, the council’s representative Rachel Ellis said the allegations against Mrs Penson were ‘wide-ranging and serious’.

Ms Ellis said an interim order was needed for public protection and to maintain public confidence in the profession, with the panel agreeing such action was ‘appropriate, necessary and proportionate’.

The report said: “The panel was of the view that based on the information before it there was a risk of repetition of the failings which could lead to patients being harmed.”

It added that the panel believed the financial hardship caused to Mrs Penson by a suspension was outweighed by the ‘need to protect the public and the wider public interest’.

Mrs Penson’s suspension will be reviewed within six months and every three months after that.

An investigation into the allegations is continuing.