Former Hartlepool hospice nurse suspended after giving patient drug without prescription

A nurse employed by Alice House Hospice in Hartlepool was suspended for two years after she gave a drug to a patient without the proper authority.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 6:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 6:36 pm
Alice House Hospice, Wells Avenue. Picture by FRANK REID
Alice House Hospice, Wells Avenue. Picture by FRANK REID

Judith Ann Peacock administered the sedative Midazolam to a hospice patient without a prescription or other legal authority on September 27 in 2013.

She also failed to record that she had administered the drug, and a panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found her fitness to practice was and remains impaired.

The incident was flagged up by systems in place at the hospice, which quickly informed the NMC and no harm was caused to the patient.

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The NMC also took action after Ms Peacock cancelled and rebooked a pre-planned colonoscopy for another patient while employed by Tees Valley Treatment in October 2014 without seeking medical advice.

She also issued the same patient with a bowel preparation as a take home medication that had not been prescribed by a registered prescriber and without seeking medical advice.

Ms Peacock was initially suspended for six months in April 2016.

A panel of the NMC’s Fitness to Practice Committee twice extended it for a further 18 months until the end of this May.

It said Ms Peacock’s fitness to practice was impaired and there was a serious risk of harm to patients.

She has not worked as a nurse since 2014 and has signed two declarations confirming she does not plan to practise as a registered nurse or midwife in the future.

After reviewing the order this month, the panel said her fitness to practice remains impaired but will allow the suspension order to lapse on May 31.

Tracy Woodall, chief executive of Alice House Hospice, said it takes the welfare of patients extremely seriously.

She said: “The welfare of patients is of utmost concern to Alice House Hospice and we expect excellence in care for all people who access our services.

“The incident involving this nurse was identified immediately and she was relieved of her position in 2013.  

“She was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) because her actions were against the NMC code of conduct and against Alice House Hospice policies and procedures.

“We were open and transparent with the family of the patient and we were very clear with the NMC about our concerns.”