Nurse got dementia patient to write £2,500 cheque for sister’s op

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A NURSE has been cautioned after she admitted persuading a dementia patient to loan her thousands of pounds for a relative’s operation.

Dulcesima Tait told the patient that she needed £2,500 to pay for a spinal operation for her sister.

The 38-year-old, originally from the Phillipines, told the female patient the money was needed because her sister had been hurt in a road accident back home.

Tait, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, was given a cheque for £2,500 and tried to bank it. But she was told she needed a signed letter before the cheque could be accepted.

When Tait asked the patient for a letter, staff at Springfield Bank Care Centre in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, stopped the cheque being cashed.

Tait appeared today (Thu) at a hearing in Edinburgh of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

She pled guilty to two charges, that in or about March 2009 she had on one or more occasions, asked to borrow money from a patient, and that she had accepted a cheque for £2,500 and tried to cash.

The charge stated: “In light of the above, your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct.”

The incident happened on a 70-bed dementia ward at Springfield.

Alex Mills, for the council, said Mrs Tait’s sister had been in an accident in the Philippines.

On March 20, 2009, Mrs Tait had been depressed about her sister’s condition and went to speak to the patient who asked what was wrong.

The patient asked how much money she needed and offered to pay. Mrs Tait had said that she would repay the patient £500 every month when she was paid.

Mr Mills added: “The staff hand-book is clear. It states that staff must not accept gifts or money from patients unless they have prior consent from the manager.

“If a gift or money is given then the member of staff must inform their manager who will give them a receipt.”

The hearing heard that Mrs Tait is the youngest of nine children, that she provides financial support for her two brothers’ education, and regularly sends money to her mother in the Philippines.

She married her husband in 1997 but has been the sole bread winner in their family since 2000 when her husband’s rheumatoid arthritis prevented him from working.

At the hearing Mrs Tait said: “I feel very, very sorry for what happened I learned a lot from that mistake that I have made.  I feel very, very sorry.

“From that I honestly say I have learned my mistake and not just for myself but my family.”

She assured the panel that she would never talk about personal matters with patients again.

She said: “In future, I would rather just resolve that [personal issues] within the family circle.”

Mrs Tait received a glowing report from her current employers at the Eildon House nursing home. The manager Melaine Ineci said: “[Mrs Tait] has provided a high standard of care, she is ver organised and attentive and is an active team player.”

The panel gave Mrs Tait a two year caution. She will have to disclose the caution to future employers but she may continue to work in her current job according to the NMC

Bruce Westwood the chair of the panel explained that in reaching their decision they had to consider the interests of the vulnerable and elderly patients and the damage caused to the reputation of the nursing profession.

However, they were also took into account the stress she had been under at the time and the regret she had shown for asking for the loan.

Mr Westwood said: “We are satisfied that she would not do the same thing again and that this was an isolated incident.”

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