A Sheffield nurse has been suspended for 12 months after he was caught stealing painkillers from a neurosurgery pharmacy.
Luke Ashley Glen Adams was working as a nurse for Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust at the time of the offences in December 2020 and January 2021. An investigation was launched after a pharmacy technician at the Neuro Critical Care Pharmacy noticed that prescription medication containing codeine had been going missing.
The investigation unearthed CCTV footage of Adams entering the pharmacy area, taking strips of the drugs and placing them in his pocket. No patients on the unit had been prescribed drugs at the times they were taken.
Adams was called to a meeting with the matron of neurosurgery at the Trust where he admitted taking the medication on all the occasions. Adams apologised for his actions.
The Matron said: “He was open and honest with me, and I felt sorry for him when he was telling me as he was a great nurse.” Adams was subsequently suspended by the Trust.
Adams submitted statements admitting his guilt and was dismissed for gross misconduct for the repeated thefts after a disciplinary hearing on May 17, 2021. A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise committee considered his case during a hearing which ended on Wednesday (November 1).
The panel considered two charges against Adams and found both proven. These were that on one or more of occasions he took, without authorisation, medication from Trust stocks and that his actions were dishonest in that he knew he was not entitled to take the medication but did so anyway.
In considering whether the charges amounted to misconduct, the panel said: “By stealing medication from his employers, the registrant’s actions had the potential to put patients at unwarranted risk of harm as it could have reduced sufficient supplies for patients who require the medication and prevent them from receiving the medication.”
The panel was of the view that Adams’ behaviour and conduct did fall seriously below that standards expected of a registered nurse. Their determination continued: “The panel was of the view that Mr Adams’ misconduct had breached the fundamental tenets of the nursing profession and therefore brought its reputation into disrepute. It was satisfied that confidence in the nursing profession would be undermined if its regulator did not find charges relating to dishonesty extremely serious.”
The NMC panel handed down a suspension order of 12 months to Adams “to mark the seriousness of the misconduct”. At the end of the suspension period, another panel will review the order to see if Adams has taken steps to address his misconduct.
The suspension order cannot take effect until the end of a 28-day appeal period. An interim 18 month suspension is in place to allow for any appeal proceedings.
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