Rebecca Leighton: Nurse suspended for stealing drugs
A nurse cleared of poisoning patients at a hospital have been suspended for 3 months after admitting stoning up from the location.
The decision came after a 3-day disciplinary hearing for Rebecca Leighton, 29, who worked at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.
She was suspended from nursing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Ms Leighton spent six weeks in jail but was freed as there has been not enough evidence against her.
She was questioned in 2011 by police investigating the poisoning of twenty-two patients, eight of whom died.
The charges were later dropped but she admitted stealing drugs and drugs from the hospital. Police found packets of painkillers and opiate-based drugs at her home.
‘Trustworthy and reliable’
She is currently working at a care home in Stockport.
Sue Jackson, who runs the care home, told the hearing she has known Ms Leighton since she was an adolescent and took her on after she was sacked from Stepping Hill.
She said Ms Leighton have been trustworthy, reliable, creative and caring within the six months she has worked on the home.
Ms Jackson added Ms Leighton had thought seriously about her actions and deeply regretted them.
The hearing was told that in police interviews, Ms Leighton claimed staff regularly took drugs corresponding to the painkiller ibuprofen for his or her own use.
Her claim was rejected by Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
It said: “We totally refute the false allegations, which have been raised on the hearing, concerning the habitual theft of medication by staff from our premises.
“These unfounded allegations were immediately investigated by our organisation once they were raised at Miss Leighton’s original disciplinary hearing in November 2011.
“The investigation found no evidence to back them up.”
Twenty-two people suffered hypoglycaemic episodes after saline drips were allegedly sabotaged with insulin between June and July 2011 at Stepping Hill.
Eight of those victims – who were treated on acute care wards for seriously ill patients – have now died.
A second nurse who worked at the same wards, Victorino Chua, was later hung on suspicion of 3 counts of murder and 18 counts of causing grievous bodily harm.
He was further arrested on suspicion of tampering with medical records and was released on police bail.
Mr Chua was held over the deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83.
Alleged poisoning victims William Dickson, 82, Linda McDonagh, 60, John Beeley, 73, Beryl Hope, 70, and Mary Cartwright, 89, are believed to have eventually died from natural causes.