A NURSE accused of stealing a patient’s wallet at a private hospital whilst he was having an operation risks being struck off.
Julie Mincher, of Coral Close in Fareham, will be banned from working in the profession if the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) finds the allegation to be proved at a hearing next month.
Mrs Mincher is alleged to have taken the wallet as the male patient was undergoing an operation at the Spire Hospital in Bartons Road, Havant, in July 2009.
An earlier hearing of the NMC’s investigating committee said that Mrs Mincher was allegedly ‘found in an empty patient room with the door shut, standing in front of an opened patient’s safe holding the patient’s wallet in her hand. There is a substantial body of evidence in support of the allegation.
‘This is a very serious allegation. If it is made out, it will mean that the registrant took advantage of a patient’s absence to attempt to steal.’
Although nothing has so far been proven against Ms Mincher, she has been suspended from work since March last year in the interest of public safety.
At a hearing at London’s High Court on Friday, the NMC was asking for Mrs Mincher’s 18-month suspension, due to expire at the end of this month, to be extended for a further three months.
The NMC’s counsel, Salim Hafejee said that, if found guilty, Mrs Mincher will be ‘at severe risk’ of being struck off the nursing register.
Mr Hafejee said that there had been ‘little engagement’ on Mrs Mincher’s part in the NMC proceedings and it had not had any contact with her since April.
Mr Justice Lindblom agreed to the extension to allow time for a hearing before the NMC’s conduct and competence committee to go ahead on October 31.
In publicity material the hospital is described as offering ‘comprehensive private hospital services’ to more than 27,000 patients a year.
It provides 48 en suite bedrooms as well as a high dependency suite, 13 consulting rooms and three theatres.
No-one from Spire was available to comment.