A nurse employed by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who ‘pressurised’ a colleague to support her ‘dishonest actions’ has been cautioned.
Cherry Anne Sangco, who was working at Worthing Hospital, was given a five year caution by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) at a two day disciplinary hearing.
Ms Sangco faced five misconduct charges which took place in February 2014.
She was accused of breaking the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s break policy by allowing two members of staff to take a break at the same time and letting staff to take a one and a half hour break, ‘not adequately monitoring’ a patient sitting a on ‘chair with wheels’ and not accurately recording the circumstances surrounding the patient’s fall in the Datix incident report – an action the NMC said was ‘dishonest’.
Ms Sangco also admitted sending text messages to a junior colleague ‘pressurising her to support the version of events detailed in the Datix incident report’.
However, Ms Sangco, who admitted the charges, told the panel it was ‘widespread and common practice’ for night staff to take longer breaks at the same time.
Ms Sangco said the patient had stood up and fallen while a colleague had left to make a cup of tea – when she was actually on a break.
The NMC heard the patient had stood up and fallen over so suddenly that the fall could not have been prevented even if a nurse had been with her.
Following the fall, the NMC heard Ms Sangco took appropriate action to make sure Patient A was okay.
The panel accepted her behaviour was ‘out of character’ and said she had ‘remedied’ her misconduct.
The NMC report states: “You have displayed significant insight, remorse and reflection into your misconduct and the negative effects your actions had on the profession.
“The panel determined to impose a caution order for a period of five years. Although the panel considered that your actions were at the lower end of the spectrum of impaired fitness to practise, you will acted dishonestly. Dishonesty is always a serious matter especially working with medical records.”
Following the Trust’s disciplinary hearing Ms Sangco was dismissed but reinstated with conditions of practice on appeal.
Amanda Parker, Director of Nursing at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All our nurses follow a rigorous code of professional standards set down by the Nursing and Midwifery Council which the Trust takes extremely seriously.
“We comprehensively investigated this incident and fully supported the subsequent NMC investigation.
“It is important to note that the hearing concluded the care of Patient A was not jeopardised by the nurse’s conduct and that she has expressed significant insight, remorse and reflection in relation to the incident.”
Patient A sustained fractured hip in the fall and was transferred to another ward where she died few days later.
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