Read nurse suspended over painkiller fraud

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A Read practice nurse has been suspended over allegations she pretended to be a patient’s relative to fraudulently get painkillers.

Gillian Bacchi (49) claimed to be a patient’s granddaughter to get a prescription of codeine medication from a pharmacy, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

But she was arrested by police and given a caution for fraud by false representation.

Ms Bacchi has been put on an 18-month interim suspension order as the NMC carries out a full investigation into the allegations.

The case could be reviewed in February of next year but she has indicated she may apply for voluntary removal from the NMC register.

The NMC heard when the incident happened Ms Bacchi had been off sick from work at her post as a practice nurse and nurse prescriber at the Little Harwood Health Centre in Blackburn.

The hearing was told how Ms Bacchi purported to be a patient’s granddaughter in order to have a prescription for codeine dispensed.

When challenged by the pharmacist Ms Bacchi ran out of the pharmacy on May 15th and the police were contacted.

She was given a police caution for fraud by false representation on July 1st.

The NMC panel imposed the 18-month interim suspension order on the grounds of public protection.

Miriam Karp, who chaired the NMC hearing, said in a report: “The allegations Ms Bacchi faces are serious, involving dishonest conduct.

“There is information before the panel to indicate that she suffers from ongoing health problems which are linked to the police caution she received.

“The panel therefore concluded that some form of interim order is necessary on the grounds of public protection.”

Ms Bacchi informed the NMC by letter in August that she has been off work on sick leave since June 2013 and does not intend to return to work.

The report stated that she intends to apply for voluntary removal from the NMC register.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “A 49-year-old woman from Read was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and received an adult caution.”