Wednesday 24 January 2018

'Real threat' to staff and patients due to lack of system to record return of medication - inquiry

The inquiry has adjourned for a time
The inquiry has adjourned for a time

Sam Griffin

There remains a “real threat” to staff and patients at a Cork hospital because there is no system in place to record the return of medication, a nursing fitness to practise inquiry heard.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board (NMBI) raised the concerns during a professional misconduct hearing into allegations against nurse Johanna Leahy while she was practising in Mercy Hospital Cork.

Ms Leahy has accepted she ordered the pain relief drug solpadeine for her own use, but not 713 as alleged by the CEO of the NMBI.

The period in question is from January 2013 to March 2014. Some 288 tablets were later returned after they were discovered by hospital staff.

Earlier today the inquiry head that when the issue was raised, Ms Leahy admitted to the wrongdoing.

Edward Mathews, from the Irish Nurses and Midwifery Organisation (INMO) who is representing the nurse, said the amount taken was being disputed. He said this was because there was no system for recording the return of medication from wards or the pharmacy.

After reconvening this afternoon, chairperson for the inquiry committee Ms Essene Cassidy said that “systems failures” relating to the pathway for drug administration and drug returns at the Mercy Hospital had been raised and acknowledged by the evidence heard.

This represented a “real threat to staff and patient safety” and she said she would like to hear from the hospital how the issue will be remedied.

“This committee has a responsibility to protect the public,” the inquiry heard.

Neasa Bird, for the CEO of the NMBI, said she would take instructions in terms of how to proceed.

The inquiry has adjourned for a time.

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