Disgraced nurse struck off for buying vulnerable patient cigarettes

Nimrah Riaz was working for both Bolton Trust and Lancashire Foundation trust between 2018 and 2019 when the incidents occurred

(Image: James Maloney/Liverpool Echo)

A nurse has been struck off for for buying a vulnerable patient cigarettes as well, as for working shifts at Lancashire hospitals whilst calling in sick at another.

Nimrah Riaz was working for both Bolton Trust and Lancashire Foundation trust between 2018 and 2019 when the incidents occurred. She was accused of visiting a patient, known as patient A at Fortalice Refuge in a professional capacity as a nurse without any without clinical justification. Fortalice is a domestic abuse charity with a refuge in Bolton.

The hearing heard that in the internal investigation interview, Riaz admitted that she had arranged to meet Patient A after she had been discharged from the hospital. As there was no clinical justification for this, this was an inappropriate attempt to maintain a relationship with a vulnerable person.

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By visiting Patient A in her accommodation, making false representations to gain access, making an entry in her partnership working log, and buying her cigarettes, Miss Riaz was acting outside her professional boundaries.

On one occasion, Riaz bought cigarettes for Patient A, after Patient A had handed over some money for them.

The panel took account of the written and oral evidence of Ms 4 who told the panel that on25 July 2019 she saw Miss Riaz pass cigarettes to Patient A. Further, the panel had evidence that in the internal investigation interview with Mr 1 on 17 September 2019, when asked if she had ever bought anything for or on behalf of Patient A, Miss Riaz replied: “I just got her cigarettes which she gave me the money to buy for her.”

The panel found that Riaz had reported sick at the Bolton Trust and then worked at the Lancashire Hospital on two occasions, and had allowed shifts at the Bolton Trust and Lancashire Hospital to overlap and received payment for these shifts on four occasions.

The panel was of the view that Riaz’s actions and omissions were premeditated in that she deliberately set out to deceive her employers for personal financial gain. It considered that Riaz had an opportunity to remedy her behaviour by repaying the money fraudulently claimed, but had not done so.

In relation to Patient A, the panel noted from the Bolton Trust’s internal investigation interview that Miss Riaz had admitted to agreeing to visit the patient. It also took into account Riaz’s submissions in her email to the NMC dated 5 December 2019 which included representations placing blame on Patient A.

However, the panel considered that most of Miss Riaz’s representations were at odds with what had been established as the facts of this case. The panel was satisfied that Riaz knew what she was going to do when she visited Patient A, a vulnerable patient, at the Refuge without clinical justification or authorisation, represented to staff at the Refuge that she was visiting Patient A in professional capacity when she was no longer involved in the patient’s care and passed cigarettes to the patient.

The panel considered that Riaz did not take ownership of her actions and, in particular considered that her justifications for her acts and omissions were dishonest. The panel was satisfied that Riaz’s actions did fall seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and amounted to misconduct.

It was not satisfied that patients were put at risk of harm as a result of Riaz’s misconduct. The panel was of the view, however, that Riaz’s misconduct had breached the fundamental tenets of the nursing profession and therefore brought its reputation into disrepute. It was satisfied that confidence in the nursing profession would be undermined if its regulator did not find charges relating to dishonesty extremely serious.

The panel decided to make a striking-off order. The effect of this order is that the NMC register will show that Riaz has been struck off the register.

  • 05:35, 6 DEC 2022

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