‘Excellent’ Irish nurse struck off register over working in UK while unregistered

Nurse had written ‘begging’ the judge not to cancel her registration

Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

An Irish nurse whose work in a UK nursing home was described as “excellent” has been struck off the register of nurses in Ireland by the High Court after being found guilty of professional misconduct.

The misconduct findings against Denise Ann Wilson arose from a complaint in June 2015 by the general manager of a UK nursing home where Ms Wilson had worked in 2014 and 2015.

It was alleged Ms Wilson held herself out as registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK when she was not. The UK unit relied on the representations of Ms Wilson who was promoted while working there to the status of deputy manager, the court heard.

An inquiry held in 2018 by a Fitness to Practise committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NWB) into the complaint resulted in findings of professional misconduct against Ms Wilson over failing on dates between May 2014 and April 2015 to register with the NMC in the UK, practising nursing in the nursing home without being registered in the UK and holding herself out to her employer as registered to work as a nurse in the UK when she was not.

It also found she had provided the management of the UK nursing home about April 2014 with a falsified document purporting to be evidence she was registered with the NMC.

The Fitness to Practise committee was also of opinion she had provided multiple excuses for her unauthorised absences from work at the UK nursing home between November 2013 and March 2015 which she knew to be false.

The committee recommended in October 2018 that Ms Wilson’s registration here should be cancelled. The NWB, in a decision last March, agreed with that recommendation and it applied to the High Court on Friday to confirm that decision.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said the misconduct involved a form of dishonesty at the upper end of the scale and he was satisfied to make the strike-off order as sought.

Ms Wilson, a qualified nurse aged in her early 30s with an address at Ramelton, Co Donegal, was registered in the intellectual disability division of the register of nurses and midwives here in 2009.

She has been working in recent years as a healthcare assistant and did not attend court on Friday for the hearing of the strike-off application.

She had previously attended and made submissions before the Fitness to Practise committee inquiry.

In an email sent by her to the court on Friday morning, Ms Wilson said she was “begging” the judge not to cancel her registration. She said in the email there has never been a complaint about her nursing skills and abilities here, referred to the shortage of nurses here and the fact many nurses are leaving to work abroad.

She also alleged a “personal vendetta” against her, claiming the general manager of the nursing home where she had worked in London would never have made a complaint until Ms Wilson left the job. She also said any queries concerning registration with the NMC are dealt with by the UK police and neither the NMC nor the UK police had taken any further step in this matter. She also said she was very happy to do any back-to-nursing course the court might consider appropriate.

Mr Justice Kelly said there was no evidence of a “vendetta” against Ms Wilson.

He said five of six allegations of misconduct had been found proven by the Fitness to Practise committee of the NWB and its recommendation of a strike-off had been endorsed by the board at a meeting last March.

He said the misconduct was “very serious” and he could see no basis to depart from the view of the Fitness to Practise committee and board that Ms Wilson’s registration here should be cancelled. The NWB was also satisfied she had demonstrated no insight into the seriousness of her behaviour, he said.

Earlier, in seeking the strike-off order, counsel for the NMB said it considered, even given Ms Wilson’s relatively young age, a strike-off order was necessary for public safety and to maintain public confidence in the nursing profession.