Nurse sacked for accepting cash gift

A medic at a care home in Leigh has been suspended for nine months after she accepted a £500 cheque from a terminally-ill resident.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 10:09 am
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:38 pm
High Peak Lodge care home, Leigh

Staff nurse Claire Louise Fewings was sacked after the incident came to light at High Peak Care Home, in Bedford Square.

And now Fewings has been suspended from the profession for nine months by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after a conduct and competence committee panel found misconduct charges proved against her.

Ayanna Nelson, for the NMC’s legal department, said Fewings had been the assigned nurse for a female resident, who was terminally ill.

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The resident, who has not been named, informed her sister, her doctor and her social worker that she had given the nurse a cheque for £500 on May 20 2016, she added.

The hearing was told that the home’s manager later confronted Fewings who admitted she had held onto the cheque for between 17 and 20 days, but not cashed it.

An internal disciplinary hearing dismissed Fewings and the resident died on July 2 that year, the panel was told. She told managers: “I took the cheque out of her hands and told her under no circumstances would I be cashing it, I took it to make her feel better and calm her down. But again in no way was I going to cash it.”

The three-strong NMC panel found two charges, that Fewings accepted the cheque and not reporting the handover to a senior member of staff at the home, proven after hearing from the home’s manager.

Panel chairman Barbara Stuart noted the nurse had not been entirely consistent in her submissions for the proceedings, claiming that she could not find a manager to report the cheque being handed over, then saying she “forgot” about the matter.

Fewings accepted she should have informed a manager, in hindsight, but insisted she never intended to use the funds.

Imposing a nine-month suspension, Mrs Stuart said the nurse, who did not attend the London hearing, should have been aware of the resident’s vulnerability, as a terminally-ill patient.

“The panel found that Mrs Fewings had ample opportunities to report receipt of the cheque to a manager in person or by telephone,” added Mrs Stuart. “It was Mrs Fewings’ failure to report the cheque that most concerned the panel, as it considered that by not being open with her employer and colleagues she failed to act with integrity.”