Hartlepool nurse who used dying patient's bank card for herself to be struck off

A nurse who abused her position to defraud an elderly and dying patient is to be struck off the register.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 4:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 4:17 pm

She used 84-year-old Leslie Rushworth’s bank card five times in two days while supposedly caring for him on Ward 27 at the University Hospital of North Tees.

She bought herself a new bed, wallpaper, goods off Amazon and paid off a personal loan.

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Leanne Wallace at Teesside Magistrates Court. Picture by Frank Reid

Wallace is now to be struck off the nursing register after a meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee.

It found her fitness to practice was impaired because of her conviction and said her conduct was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse.

Teesside Crown Court heard Wallace persisted with the fraud even after one of Mr Rushworth’s cards failed and she used another.

She initially tried to hide her guilt by wiping the memory on her phone and other devices and claimed the wallpaper was chosen by Mr Rushworth, from Seaton Carew.

Leslie Rushworth.

The panel said Wallace had caused added distress to his family.

Their report stated: “Nurses occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and are expected at all times to be professional.

"Patients and their families must be able to trust nurses with their lives and the lives of their loved ones.”

It went on: "The panel considered that a member of the public would be appalled by Ms Wallace’s behaviour and that public confidence in the profession would be seriously undermined if a finding of impairment was not found on this ground.”

It said Wallace’s actions were “fundamentally incompatible” with her remaining on the register.

Their report added: “Having regard to the effect of Ms Wallace’s actions in bringing the profession into disrepute by adversely affecting the public’s view of how a registered nurse should conduct themselves, the panel has concluded that nothing short of this would be sufficient in this case."

An interim suspension order was imposed until the striking-off order takes affect after a 28-day appeal period.

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