Nurse struck off after drunken nap on duty

BMI Duchy Hospital, Harrogate
BMI Duchy Hospital, Harrogate

A nurse who took a drunken nap when she was supposed to be caring for patients at a private hospital in Harrogate has been struck off the medical register.

Janet Gill, a bank worker at the BMI Duchy Hospital, had turned up for a night shift while under the influence, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing heard.

She had drunk so much that she was “mumbling unintelligibly” the hearing was told and, unable to walk, was sliding down the walls of a patient’s room.

She then fell asleep at the nurses’ station.

Finding her unfit to practice and removing her right to work as a nurse, the council said: “By going to work under the influence of alcohol Mrs Gill places patients, herself and other members of staff at risk of harm.

“Mrs Gill’s misconduct has jeopardised the safe care of patients and she remains a continuing risk to patients and others.

“She has the potential to cause harm to patients and others and as a result has brought the profession into disrepute.”

The BMI Duchy Hospital is a private hospital on Queen’s Road in Harrogate with just one ward, a surgical and outpatients ward for elective operations.

In applying for a job there, the NMC heard, Mrs Gill had revealed that she had been dismissed from her previous role at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton because she was found to be under the influence of alcohol in November 2009.

Regardless of this, she was offered a job and started work at the Duchy Hospital in January 2011 as a bank nurse.

The misconduct hearing, held by the council last week, went on to hear that Mrs Gill’s actions on a night shift in March had so frightened a patient that he had called up his wife to say he didn’t feel safe.

A nursing colleague, hearing how Mrs Gill had been stumbling around his room, mumbling and using the walls to prop herself up, had sent her off to the patients’ lounge where she promptly fell asleep.

An on-call senior nurse was brought in, the NMC heard, and, going through Mrs Gill’s “scrappy” notes of that night, found that she had failed to give out medication and had been asleep when the claimed she had.

The misconduct panel, considering whether her actions were dishonest, found that she had not been herself that day. She had said that she was “just tired” because she had been at a hen party and then worked in a pub all day.

“Mrs Gill was not in her normal state of mind and was probably befuddled by drink and therefore the panel could not be satisfied that she was aware that her conduct was dishonest,” the panel said.

Mrs Gill, although informed of the hearing, had chosen not to attend and the judgement was given in her absence. It was found that her fitness to practice was impaired by reason of her misconduct and she was struck off the medical register.

“Mrs Gill has not expressed any signs of remorse for her conduct or apology for the way she behaved,” the council said.

“Mrs Gill put patients at risk and also put colleagues in a difficult situation.”

A spokesperson for BMI Healthcare said: “We are aware of the NMC findings and understand Ms Gill has been struck off. Any allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously.

“These are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action is taken internally and where required, involvement of professional bodies or other external agencies.”