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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Carlisle mental health nurse accused over woman's death

A mental health nurse failed to take away a suicidal patient’s stash of powerful painkillers before she killed herself, a tribunal heard.

Audrey McKie, a care co-ordinator at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was responsible for monitoring the vulnerable woman in the days before her death.

McKie did not follow the psychiatrist’s recommendation to remove the woman’s store of medication and switch to daily dispensing instead of weekly, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

A few days later the patient died of an overdose of co-codamol, even though she had told her psychiatrist she was hoarding her painkillers and having suicidal thoughts.

McKie is also accused of abandoning the patient without support while she went away on holiday.

Psychiatrist Dr David Prosser saw the patient, who he had treated for several years, at Carlisle’s Carleton Clinic on July 12, 2011. He said the woman told him she felt like taking her own life and revealed she had been storing up her prescription.

“I considered her to be at medium to high risk of self-harm. I thought the medication should have been removed within 24 hours, certainly within 48 hours,” he said. The patient was found dead of an overdose a few days later. McKie allegedly failed to tell the crisis team about removing the painkillers or dispensing them daily.

McKie, who is not present or represented at the hearing, has made no formal admission to the charges. If her fitness to practise is found to be impaired by reason misconduct she could be struck off the medical register.

The hearing continues.

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