A nursing home manager who secretly emptied a resident’s bank account has been struck off.
Pamela Eastwood, who was the manager at Swansea Terrace Nursing Home, in Watery Lane, Ashton, Preston, was struck off after she used the male resident’s bank card for online payments. The family of the unnamed man only discovered more than £5,000 was missing after he passed away and they couldn’t pay for his funeral.
Mrs Eastwood, of North Cliff Street, Preston, was given a police caution after admitting fraud by abuse of power.
No charges were brought forward by the family of the resident and it is understood she paid the money back in full.
The fraud was committed between July 2011 and February 2012. Mrs Eastwood resigned from the job in May 2012 following a probe by the home. Since then, the home has been taken over by a new company. At the time, the home was in administration and had been since 2009.
Mrs Eastwood’s case was brought before the The Nursing and Midwifery Council as a result of the police caution.
The hearing was told the resident had given written authority to the home to take money from his Post Office account to pay for cigarettes. When he died, concerns were raised over anomalies in a different bank account – namely internet transactions the man could not have carried out. The police were involved and confirmed that a number of online internet purchases had been made between February 2011 and 2012.
Mrs Eastwood told the police that she had come to a private arrangement with the man where she could use this account card for her own expenses and shopping to reimburse the cost of her own outlay to buy him cigarettes.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard she had confirmed she kept no record of any agreement with the resident about this arrangement, there were no witnesses to the agreement for her transactions, and there was no documentation to support her explanation.
Records had been made over the agreed use of the Post Office account but not the separate Santander account where the £5,016.91 had been spent.
In September 2012 at a police interview Mrs Eastwood stated that she was fully aware that her actions were wrong and unlawful and expressed remorse, the hearing heard.
She accepted a police caution for fraud by abuse of power between the dates of 24 July 2011 and 6 February 2012.
As a result of the caution the Nursing and Midwifery Council said Mrs Eastwood’s fitness to practise was impaired and called a Conduct and Competence Committee hearing.
A report from the hearing explained the reason for the striking off order: “In all the circumstances, the panel therefore concluded that a striking off order was the only sanction which was proportionate and sufficient to protect the wider public interest, and that public confidence in the profession and the NMC as a regulator can only be sustained if Mrs Eastwood was removed from the register.
“Mrs Eastwood’s name will be removed from the NMC register. She may not apply for restoration until five years after the date that this decision takes effect. Anyone who enquires about Mrs Eastwood’s registration will be advised of this.”
The Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing took place on September 27. Mrs Eastwood did not attend.
The council imposed an interim suspension order of 18 months, should Mrs Eastwood decide to appeal to outcome of the hearing. If after 28 days she does not, the striking off order will start.
Amin Dhanjee, director of Flight Care, the new owners of the home, said: “Swansea Terrace Nursing Home was sold by administrators in August 2012 to Flight Care. All this occurred when the home was in administration.”
The Evening Post visited Mrs Eastwood’s home but were told she did not wish to comment.