Stafford Hospital nurse struck off
Friday 20th September 2013, 1:40PM BST.
A nurse has been struck off over the treatment of a diabetic patient at Stafford Hospital.
Gillian Astbury, 66, died at the hospital in April 2007 after not receiving insulin.
Former Stafford nurses Jeannette Coulson and Ann King were found guilty of misconduct by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in July.
Today the NMC’s disciplinary panel struck King off while Coulson was given a caution for three years.
During the earlier hearing, King was also found to have lied about having changed patients’ dressings and giving them medication, while Coulson admitted swearing at staff.
The panel heard the pair had failed to carry out blood-sugar level tests on Mrs Astbury.
Both women expressed regret for their actions and said they had learned lessons but the panel said the nurses’ ability to practise had been impaired
Mrs Astbury was admitted to Stafford Hospital a week after suffering a stroke on April 1, 2007. She did not receive insulin for 48 hours, and was discovered collapsed in bed at 10.30pm on April 10.
The panel ruled that King needed to be struck off “to protect the public”. She can appeal.
It was also noted that a patient died while under the care of both women and that “neither of whom had bothered to check her medical notes”. The “gravity” of what happened to her “can not be overstated”, the NMC said.
Coulson, who was responsible for levels of care on the ward, and King were both found guilty of a series of failures including swearing at patients and lying about putting fresh dressings on wounds.
Coulson has since said she “regrets the inappropriate language” but the panel noted these “were not single instances of misconduct but are issues of misconduct covering an extensive period of time, from 2005 to 2007″.
Managerial failings which impacted on clinical standards on the ward, inappropriate use of language and the inadequate care given to the dying woman were all areas of concern.
Outside the 2005 to 2007 period, Coulson was a “committed and caring nurse” with an unblemished career.
The panel said: ” This was a challenging ward dealing with orthopaedic cases involving elderly patients often with multiple co-morbidity issues.
“The panel has concluded that, faced with staff shortages, an inadequate skill mix, longstanding managerial and clinical problems on the ward and a lack of support from senior management, only a quite extraordinary manager could have brought the ward up to an acceptable standard.”
The panel imposed a three year caution on Coulson in the belief that the risk of a repetition is “low” and that it might “motivate” her to improve.
They ruled that “should she return to nursing in a managerial capacity, to address the management issues successfully and to speak out when resources were insufficient to provide safe patient care”.
Colin Ovington, director of nursing at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust: said: ” Neither of these two nurses works for the Trust – Jeanette Coulson left in August 2010, and Patricia King in August 2012.
“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Gillian Astbury and we apologise for the appalling care Ms Astbury received at our hospital in April 2007.”