A district nurse, qualified to prescribe, was struck off the Nursing and Midwifery register for obtaining drugs with false patient prescriptions.
An independent panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) Conduct and Competence Committee heard that Borry Jatta, 40, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, wrote prescriptions for six different patients in his employers' Wallingford medical practice over a period of four months in 2006 and collected them from local pharmacies, knowing that the drugs he obtained on those prescriptions were not required by those patients.
He then sought to conceal what he had done by deleting the relevant records. His actions led to a conviction for theft at Didcot Magistrates Court in November 2007.
The panel concluded that his behaviour could have caused the patients harm, in that he was obtaining by deception drugs which had not been properly prescribed, which when questioned he appeared to know little about. He claimed he was obtaining the range of drugs - a selection of painkillers, antiinfection and antiinflammatory medicines - for a relative in Gambia because they were not available there.
Lesley Conway, spokesperson for the NMC, commented: "Jatta's actions in forging prescriptions were a serious departure from his NMC code of conduct as well as being against the law. The NMC Code states a nurse must be open and honest, act with integrity and uphold the reputation of the profession."
Was this the right decision? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"No. Although what the nurse did was wrong, caution and counselling would be more in line with a doctor's punishment. We are expected to work as junior doctors without the same back-up/monitoring systems." - Morris, Woolwich
"Yes it was the right decision. This nurse has commited fraud and theft which is illegal. He has abused his position and trust." - Sharon Anderson, Northants
"Yes definitely, the only decision." - Beryl Slade, West Midlands
"Without doubt it was the correct decision. Honesty and integrity are essential elements of being a nurse." - Pam McHarg, Nottingham
"Of course it was the right decision. He must have known that he was risking his registration by committing fraud. He doesn't deserve to work in a position of trust and he has done the reputation of nursing no good." - Maggie Levendoglu, Crawley
"Yes it was the right decision. Nurses have been fighting for more clinical responsibility and having obtained expertise in this area of prescribing the nurse has brought the profession into disrepute and lowered the standard and integrity of the profession." - V Henry, N15
"Yes certainly this was the right decision. Having fought for the right to prescribe abusing the system like this undermines our professional credibility." - Lesley Austin, Coventry
"Most certainly. This type of theft in a position of trust destroys the credibility of the nursing profession. There is no excuse for breaking the law." - Lee West, Nottingham
"No, the nurse should have been cautioned and then counselled. He was obviously under a great deal of pressure/strain from family commitments. A doctor would not have been struck off for the same misdemeanour I would suspect. We as a profession should be more understanding and support our colleagues - look at the big picture. - Karen E Dukes, Bakewell Derbyshire
"Yes it was the correct and only decision. I feel that as a fellow nurse prescriber we are under constant scrutiny (quite rightly) and that the actions of this particular nurse bring down the reputation and integrity of the profession." - Helen Reynolds
"Yes it was the right decision. Taxes are paid in this country for the public to have a right to prescription drugs. Speaking as a fellow nurse prescriber, I do not want to work alongside colleagues like this who abuse the system." - Joanne Campbell, West Midlands
"Certainly it was the correct decision. The drugs were obtained fraudulently. Nurses have fought long and hard for the right to prescribe, some members of the medical profession are just waiting for an excuse to withdraw that right." - Lynne Gray, Lancashire
"It was the only decision." - Paul Radnan, Salford
"Undoubtedly. Standards need to be unheld, particularly with regard to prescribing." - Deirdre Cornish-Browne, London
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