A NURSE who kept more than £10,000 of a patient's cash locked up in a safe in her home has escaped a ban today (Wednesday, August 6).
Lucy Brown acted as an unofficial banker for the patient to look after his gambling winnings while working at the Roseberry Park Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
She hid the unorthodox arrangement from her bosses for two years, but kept meticulous notes of deposits and withdrawal made by the patient.
When she was found out in March 2012, the nurse initially denied any involvement but later admitted to having £6,500 of the patient's cash at home, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.
The nurse then provided her manager with hand written accounts, signed by the patient, detailing the money stored and given out.
It showed up to £10,000 had been in her safe at times.
When interviewed by the trust Mrs Brown admitted the man, referred to as patient A, had asked first her to look after some money in 2010.
The money was won through gambling and Brown maintained she never used any of the money herself.
The NMC hearing was also told that Brown was convicted of drink driving and failing to stop after a road collision at Teesside Magistrates Court on June 12 last year.
Gary Leong, chairing the tribunal in central London, handed Brown a caution that allows her to carry out working as a nurse.
He said: “Mrs Brown is remorseful for her failures and takes full responsibility for her actions. However, Mrs Brown accepts that her actions in relation to Patient A and her conviction are serious and brought the profession into disrepute.
“In particular, in relation to her misconduct, the mismanagement of a patient’s finances places that patient in a vulnerable position and open to abuse and financial loss.
“The misconduct in this case is aggravated by the initial failure of the registrant to be open and honest with her employer when matters were brought to her attention and the high value of the money involved.
“In light of the circumstances of this case, a finding of impairment is required so as to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct so as to maintain public
confidence in the profession and the NMC as regulator.”
Mrs Brown admitted she had inappropriately handled Patient A's money, and was found guilty of being convicted of drink driving and failing to stop following a road traffic collision.
The caution will stay on her record for the next three years.