A NURSE has been slapped with an 18-month suspension order after being convicted of stealing and working under the influence of morphine.
Philip Maling was handed down the ban by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on Friday, having already been fined by Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court in October 2011 for stealing the drug while working for Milton Keynes Hospital.
He faced the hearing on two accusations: on numerous occasions between March and June 2011, he failed to follow appropriate procedure for administering controlled drugs and did not obtain an identifiable signature or report the amount given; and having been convicted of theft of morphine at a magistrates’ court.
The NMC raised particular concerns that the incidents occurred shortly after Mr Maling qualified as a nurse.
In his own words, Mr Maling ‘took advantage of a lax system’ which allowed him to accumulate the unwanted doses of morphine by putting syringes in his pocket after capping them, gathering between 10 and 20 ml each day.
The NMC was greatly concerned about Mr Maling’s use of morphine while on duty at the hospital, dealing with patients just out of surgery.
In coming to a conclusion, the panel, which met in London, could not rule out Mr Maling repeating his actions if allowed to work in a hospital environment once again.
In handing down its findings, the NMC reported: “This is not a case of a single, isolated incident but a protracted period of wrongdoing over several months. “Particularly aggravating is the fact that Mr Maling self administered medication while on duty.
“While there is no evidence of actual patient harm, the panel considered that Mr Maling potentially put patients at significant risk of harm by falsifying the control drugs book to indicate that patients had received medication when they had not.
“He also clearly put patients at unwarranted risk of harm by being under the influence of drugs while on duty.
“In this case, the dishonesty related not only to theft of controlled medication for which he was convicted but also to falsify clinical records which go to the heart of nursing activities.”