Suspended nurse sold £170-a-night home care to elderly patient, hearing told

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A SUSPENDED nurse walked into her old ward and sold private care services to an elderly patient, a hearing was told.

Nicola Koller was being investigated for “lack of competence” when she entered the Edinburgh hospital and told colleagues she was just visiting a friend.

But Ms Koller, according to witnesses, gave a widowed patient a leaflet and business card offering services as a private registered nurse.

And once the patient had been discharged from ward 72 at the Western General, Ms Koller charged him around £170-a-night as a registered nurse, despite her suspension.

The nurse appeared in front of a disciplinary panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in Edinburgh this week.

She is accused of selling services as a private nurse in April 2015 following suspension two months earlier.

Ms Koller, who is believed to be 63 and live in Edinburgh, denies the charges and claims that she was misunderstood and that the leaflet was in circulation before she was suspended.

On Monday the panel heard from two healthcare workers from the hospital who raised concerns about Ms Koller visiting the ward whilst suspended.

Marion Muir, a clinical support worker, said Ms Koller got “agitated” when questioned about her presence and “seemed desperate to get away”.

She added: “Something made me think it was strange for her to be here to see a patient.”

After Ms Koller left Ms Muir approached the patient, now deceased, who showed her a leaflet apparently promoting her services as a registered nurse.

According to Ms Muir the leaflet was “very professional” and “elderly and vulnerable people would not question it”.

The patient – who had been hospitalised after a fall – also said that the care was going to be “really expensive”, in the region of £170 per night.

Kirsten Smith, a senior nurse at the Western General, said that Ms Koller had appeared on the ward to offer the patient an “interim care package”. She added that they had been “concerned” that the patient “was being duped a little”.

The leaflet handed out by Ms Koller stated: “We are a team of professional registered nurses.”

Helen Guest, the NMC case presenter, told the hearing: “The Registrant will be saying that it was not she who had given Patient A that leaflet and that business card. The claim is also that she was not acting as a registered nurse. The Registrant will say it was more by way of care as a health care assistant.”

In the full charges, the NMC allege that: “Your conduct…was dishonest in that you sought to create an impression that you could act in the capacity of a registered nurse when you knew you were subject to an interim suspension order.”

It is also claimed that Ms Koller “charged Patient A for services, provided between 27 May 2015 and 2 June 2015, which had not been agreed in advance”.

The NMC claims the nurse “fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct”.

The hearing continues.

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