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Practitioner struck off for stealing drugs from a Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust hospital

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

AN operating department practitioner has been struck off the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) register after "repeatedly and deliberately" stealing drugs from a Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust hospital.

Nicola Newman was struck off the register for misconduct this week, after she admitted stealing dihydrocodeine tablets while working at the hospital.

A panel of the HCPC conduct and competence committee heard how Newman stole the dihydrocodeine, an opioid painkiller, from medicine cabinets within the trust for personal use between November 2011 and March 2012.

The panel heard that she admitted stealing the drugs during the trust's investigation into where the missing tablets had gone.

In a personal statement to the investigation, she said she had a health problem and had "many pressures at work".

Panel chairman Alexander Yule said: "The panel accepts that dihydrocodeine is not a controlled drug but nevertheless it is clear it is a very serious matter for a health care professional to steal medication from her employer.

"Although there was comment in the personal statement as to Mrs Newman's medical condition, there has been no independent or current medical opinion provided in these proceedings. There is nothing to show that fitness to practice has been improved.

"The panel doesn't accept Mrs Newman has sufficient insight as to her professional failing and the consequent damage to the reputation of her profession."

The panel decided to strike Newman from the register with an interim suspension order in place to cover the appeal period. She was not present or represented at the hearing.

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