Nurse struck off for bid to steal op patient’s wallet

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A NURSE has been struck off for attempting to steal from a patient as he had an operation.

Julie Mincher was discovered by a colleague in Michael Smith’s room at the private Spire Hospital in Bartons Road, Havant. She was wearing gloves.

Mr Smith’s private locker was open with a master key in the lock, and his wallet was open on the bedside table next to her on July 16, 2009.

A two-day hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s conduct and competence committee made a finding of misconduct by the 49-year-old and ordered that she be removed from the nursing register.

Mincher, of Coral Close in Fareham, did not attend the London hearing.

But in a written statement submitted to the panel, Mincher claimed she was wearing gloves because she had been cleaning medical equipment and when she walked past Mr Smith’s open room she saw the wallet on the table.

Mincher claimed she had gone into the room to put the wallet in the locker.

But the hearing heard evidence from both Mr Smith – who waived his right to anonymity – and Julie Brailsford, the health care assistant assigned to him during his stay, that the wallet had been locked away safely before he was taken for his operation and the room’s door closed.

In making the decision panel chairwoman Rachel O’Connell acknowledged Mincher’s 30-year career in nursing and previous good history.

But she said: ‘The panel has concluded that Mrs Mincher continues to pose a risk to patient wellbeing as regards their property.

‘The panel has no information as to any remedial steps she may have taken.

‘In denying the facts she has demonstrated a very poor attitude.

‘The panel has decided that there is a clear risk of repetition.

‘Mrs Mincher has shown no insight into her failing and there has been no expression of regret or apology.

‘She did not act under duress, indeed her actions were deliberate, showed a degree of premeditation and were dishonest.’

She concluded: ‘The panel has decided that public trust and confidence in the profession would be undermined if Mrs Mincher were not struck off.’

The hearing was also told that there had been a ‘spate of thefts’ in that part of the hospital since April 2008.

As a result, the ward had a practice in place of always having a colleague present as a witness when dealing with patients’ unattended property.

An 18-month interim suspension order has also been imposed to cover the appeal period.