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Children’s ward nurse who was caught on CCTV stealing and swigging painkillers faces being struck off

A NURSE who was caught on CCTV stealing and swigging bottles of painkillers from a Children’s ward faces being struck off the nursing register.

Laura Howe, 33, was caught on CCTV in 2018 consuming liquid codeine while on duty at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The paediatric nurse was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work after she admitted to “theft and exposing to or supplying an adulterated medical product” at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in 2019.

Nurse faces being struck off after being caughting swigging painkillers on shift - UK News
North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court

Howe, from Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire now faces being struck off the register following an investigation by the Nursing And Midwifery Council (NMC) this week.

The council has agreed for the meeting to be heard in private, meaning no members of the public can be present during proceedings.

The NMC charges state that: “On 30 July 2019, at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, were convicted of the following offences.

“Theft by employee;

“Expose for sale/supply an adulterated medicinal produce.

“And, in light of the above, your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your conviction in respect of charge 1.”

The NMC charges also make reference to a health condition that Ms Howe suffers from.

Nurse faces being struck off after being caughting swigging painkillers on shift - UK News
Pictured: Laura Howe

Staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary became suspicious in July 2017 after a nurse noticed that the liquid codeine was not as thick as it usually was.

Three bottles were removed from the ward and tested for their potency.

Results showed that the strength of the medicine, which is usually close to 100 per cent, was 71 per cent, 45 per cent and 25 per cent.

New bottles were installed on the ward and tested for their strength, which was 100 percent.

Nurse faces being struck off after being caughting swigging painkillers on shift - UK News
Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle

A further test on the liquid codeine in March 2018 showed the strength had again reduced.

Due to this, CCTV cameras were installed to find out what was going on.

Laura was then caught on camera swigging from the bottle of painkillers before diluting it with water.

She also later confessed to consuming liquid morphine, Oramorph while on shift.

The court heard how Laura had been taking the medication to ease her mental health issues which she developed after being diagnosed with leukaemia when she was eight years old.

Howe managed to dodge jail time and admitted theft and an offence under the Medicines Act.

The trial continues.

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