Two former A&E nurses who altered patient discharge times to meet waiting time targets at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust have been struck off the nursing register.
A fitness to practise panel at the Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled on Thursday that the actions and behaviour of Sharon Turner and Tracy White towards other staff and patients at the trust amounted to misconduct and was so serious they should no longer be allowed to work as nurses.
Both were working as sisters in Stafford hospital’s A&E department during the time “hundreds” of patients suffered appalling care.
They were the subject of a complaint by whistleblower Helene Donnelly who told the public inquiry into the Mid Staffs scandal that she “regularly” saw patients dying “without dignity or respect”.
Despite her complaint, managers at the time did a deal with the local Royal College of Nursing representative to stop the investigation and both sisters were re-appointed to their roles.
Earlier this week the NMC panel found they were guilty of providing poor care, bullying fellow staff and being dishonest in the management of the department.
Tracey White still works at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust after being promoted to the role of a clinical site manager. The trust said this afternoon it would take time to consider the NMC’s decision.
Sharon Turner, who left the trust in 2009, used foul language about patients and threatened to make her colleague’s life “hell”, the hearing heard.
She spoke about patients and staff in an “inappropriate manner” and on one occasion she said that she didn’t give a “flying f***” about patients.”
Ms Turner also said “they can f****** wait” and “they want to get real”, or words to that effect, the NMC panel found, as well as inaccurately recording patient discharge times and instructing staff to transfer patients to wards with “soiled sheets”.
In October 2007 she actively encouraged fellow nurses to “lie about it”, when she discovered the trust was breaching the four hour treatment time target in A&E.
She also made racial comments about junior doctors, calling them “suicide bombers” or “Osama’s mate”.
With respect to one male nurse, she said she “would make his life hell and get rid of him in six months” and “would drive him to drink and he would be out of here”.
When he was admitted to hospital after taking an overdose, she said words to the effect of: “He should have taken a few more pills and done the job properly”, the NMC panel found.
Ms Turner also said something along the lines of: “I am going to have her if it’s the last thing I do” about another nurse, the panel heard.
Meanwhile, Ms White refused to help a senior nurse undress an elderly patient, who she called a “naughty little monkey” for refusing to take drugs to treat constipation.
The panel also heard that, in relation to a patient who had attended A&E following a termination of their pregnancy, Ms White said words to the effect of: “She can wait, if you can do that to your baby.”
Between July 2000 and July 2010 she is also accused of inaccurately recording patient discharge times from A&E and ordering colleagues to follow her example, so it would appear the department was meeting waiting time targets.
The NMC panel also ruled she ordered staff to move patients to different parts of the hospital before they had been properly assessed with soiled sheets.
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.