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Brockworth Surgery nurse cautioned over breaking patient confidentiality

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

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NURSING watchdogs have cautioned a nurse practitioner who broke patient confidentiality, offered a prescription drug and accessed medical notes without good reason.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council didn’t strike off Deborah Manning for what it called an “aberration” on an otherwise unblemished 34-year career in nursing.

The hearing last month was told the Brockworth Surgery nurse practitioner admitted all charges.

She breached patient confidentiality by telling her husband of Patient C’s appointment, prescribed Colief eye drops for Patient B three times when she had a close personal or emotional relationship with him, and accessed medical notes of Patient A without there being a clinical reason three occasions, then asked the partners at the surgery to write a letter to a solicitor stating she had not been involved in the care of Patient A and Patient B.

She also held a consultation with Patient A in her home over a contraceptive implant but did not make a clinical record of the discussion.

“This is a case where the admitted facts constitute a series of failings,” said the disciplinary panel.

“However, it is agreed that this misconduct was committed during an extremely difficult period of Ms Manning’s personal life.

“It is accepted from the witness statements and references that the behaviour was an aberration, out of character, and Ms Manning is unlikely to repeat this conduct. Nor is it suggested that any patients were put at risk or are likely to be put at risk in the future.”

The panel said she ‘allowed herself, albeit in difficult and emotional circumstances’ to put her own interests before her patients when she sought to secure the letter to solicitors claiming she’d had nothing to do with Patients A and B.

“I have certainly learnt from this experience having reflected deeply on it,” she told the panel. “I would never again go into a patient’s record without documenting why, even if it seemed trivial.

“I am so sorry that it has come to this and for all the distress it has caused for everyone involved.

“Throughout all of this I never once thought that I had done anything wrong.

“I was only trying to help and also support the GPs to whom I was extremely close.”

Nine character references were provided, including from a doctor who said: “her desire to constantly build on that knowledge was phenomenal. In triage, she combined fantastic communication skills with an innate ability to assess and analyse the clinical need of the patient. Her skills in this area were such that on several occasions I would seek her advice.”

The panel concluded: “Other sanctions have been considered, but in all the circumstances, a caution order for the duration of 12 months has been considered the most appropriate sanction as the failings appear to be an isolated occurrence in what has been an otherwise unblemished nursing career spanning 34 years.”

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