Ex-hospice nurse could be struck off

Susan Allen
Susan Allen
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The former head of care at a Lancashire children’s hospice is facing a medical misconduct hearing next week.

Nurse Susan Allen, who was employed at Derian House in Astley Village, near Chorley, for around a decade, is set to appear before a disciplinary board of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in London on Monday for a two-day hearing.

She faces two misconduct charges, which are that, while employed as a registered nurse in the role of head of care, she:

l On more than one occasion, between 2010–2012, failed to monitor, record and/or take appropriate action when accidents and incidents were reported to her;

l On more than one occasion, between 2011–2012, failed to monitor, record and/or take appropriate action when medication errors were reported to her.

Ms Allen is currently registered to practise without restriction, but it is believed that she left Derian House around 18 months ago after being dismissed for gross misconduct.

Because of her position at the hospice, the dismissal had to be reported to the NMC.

Ms Allen took Derian House to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, but the case was settled in the hospice’s favour on Wednesday.

A Care Quality Commission inspection in August 2012, when Ms Allen was registered as manager, raised concerns that shortfalls in medication systems had not been looked into, and there was no evidence of incidents being investigated to identify risks.

The report stated: “Children and young people using the service had not been protected against the risks of inappropriate and unsafe care by means of the effective operation of systems designed to regularly assess and monitor the quality of the service and identify, assess and manage risks relating to health, welfare and safety.”

It added: “We looked at audits of the medication systems and found these lacked detail, and there was no evidence the shortfalls had been investigated and addressed.

“We also looked at the accident records made during 2012 and found the accidents had not been analysed and trends had not been picked up.

“Staff had completed over 60 incident forms during 2012, some of which raised concerns about the operation of the hospice and care of the children and young people using the service.

“There was no evidence seen of follow through action and no evidence that the incidents had been investigated in order to identify risks and maintain the safety and welfare of the children and young people visiting the hospice. Further to this, we saw no evidence to demonstrate any of the incidents had been considered under safeguarding.”

Next week’s hearing will be heard by at least three members of the NMC conduct and competence committee, who will consider whether evidence can be proved against Ms Allen.

If evidence is proved, the committee will have to decide if Ms Allen is currently impaired to practice, and if so, a range of sanctions are available to them.

These include: no punishment, imposing a caution that would highlight concerns to potential employers, imposing conditions such as having to work under direct supervision, a suspension of up to 12 months, or being struck off the medical register.

A spokesman for Derian House said: “It is not our policy to comment on individual cases concerning members of staff.”