Lancashire hospital nurse who went on a break while patient had breathing difficulties is struck off by NMC

Her actions have been described as "uncaring and lacked compassion".
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A Lancashire nurse who ate patient's food and went on a break when a patient was having breathing difficulties, has been struck off.

Teresa Bacon, who worked at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, has been found to be incompetent, having put patients at risk of physical and emotional harm.

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A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) concluded this week into Ms Bacon's conduct in 2019, while she was employed as a  Band 5 Nurse on the Digestive Diseases ward at Royal Blackburn Hospital. Ms Bacon did not attend the hearing. Case against Teresa Bacon

A panel heard evidence from witnesses and decided the following allegations were proved against Ms Bacon:

-  On or around April 28, 2019, Ms Bacon did not respond in a timely manner when it was reported to her that Patient A was having breathing difficulties, did not explain in their notes her rationale for giving a nebuliser, and did not escalate the patient's condition to a senior nurse or doctor before going on a break.

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- On one or more dates in or around May 2019, Ms Bacon recorded that she had administered Patient B’s anti-coagulant medication when she had not, and then was dishonest about it. 

- Ms Bacon shouted at Patient B and was rude to them. She said words to the effect of "tears don’t work for me Patient B", did not change Patient B’s dressings and did not give Patient B her pain relieving medication when it was requested. She also shouted at an unknown patient words to the effect of "you will eat".

- Ms Bacon consumed food whilst in the ward area of the hospital; asked a patient to get a coffee for her, and on one or more unknown dates, consumed food that was provided by the hospital for patients on the ward. One witness statement said: “Teresa would also regularly take food from the patient trays and eat it herself. She would always have pockets full of food. I have seen her look for her keys in her pockets, and take out all the patient food she has stored in them before finding her keys."

- She discussed her private life with patients.

The Royal Blackburn Hospital, where Teresa Bacon worked.The Royal Blackburn Hospital, where Teresa Bacon worked.
The Royal Blackburn Hospital, where Teresa Bacon worked.

Panel's view

The panel was of the view that Ms Bacon’s was not doing what was expected of a registered nurse by treating patients without care and compassion, she had put patients at risk of physical and emotional harm, and said that "any nurse would find Ms Bacon’s behaviour deplorable".

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They said there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that Ms Bacon had remediated her misconduct, and were satisified that her fitness to practise as a registered nurse is currently impaired on the grounds of public protection and public interest.

The report states: "The conduct, as highlighted by the facts found proved, was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse. The panel’s findings evidenced a series of concerns that were not one off in nature. The panel found evidence of deep-seated attitudinal problems. The panel found no evidence of insight by Ms Bacon into her unprofessional behaviour and found her actions were uncaring and lacked compassion. In addition, the panel found Ms Bacon’s actions caused harm to patients and put patients at risk of harm. The panel noted that the serious breach of the fundamental tenets of the profession evidenced by Ms Bacon’s actions is fundamentally incompatible with Ms Bacon remaining on the register without restriction."

Ms Bacon was reported to the NMC by the hospital trust in 2020. She been struck off the register and has been given 28 days to appeal.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

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Peter Murphy, Chief Nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “As soon as concerns were raised about this person, action was taken and the Trust made the referral to the Nursing and Midwifery Council itself.

“The safety and welfare of those in our care is top priority at all times but the experience of patients whilst in our care is equally important and we will always act firmly where poor and disrespectful behaviour is observed.

 “I want to add that the actions of this person do not reflect the majority of compassionate and hard working colleagues who are caring for people across all services every day. I am proud to be part of the team delivering safe, personal and effective care across our hospitals and out in the community too.”

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