Nurse struck off for series of blunders

The allegations relate to time Mr Westwood worked at St John's Hospital, Livingston
The allegations relate to time Mr Westwood worked at St John's Hospital, Livingston
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A NURSE who committed a string of blunders which put patients at risk has been struck off.

Mental health nurse Christopher Westwood delayed a seriously ill patient’s ambulance journey to A&E while he finished a coffee and went to the toilet, and gave a drug to the wrong patient.

In total, he admitted 12 separate failures while he was working at St John’s Hospital in Livingston and Craigshill Care Facility, both in West Lothian. However, he was cleared of another allegation that he failed to notice a patient had died.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) ruled that Mr Westwood had “breached fundamental tenets of the profession”.

Mr Westwood said he “deeply regretted” the mistakes, which also saw him inject the wrong part of a patient’s arms, wash a patient’s entire body using a spray foam designed to be used only on areas affected by incontinence and give a psychiatric inpatient a copy of her notes, which included a diagnosis she had not been told about.

The NMC said: “The panel considered that these failures are wide-ranging and demonstrate a fundamental departure from basic nursing practice.”

Speaking to the Evening News, Mr Westwood, who lives in Livingston, said his own health had been partly to blame for his mistakes.

He said: “I’m registered as disabled. Since the age of about 40, my memory has been declining, which is the cause of the problems at work, and I deeply regret the mistakes that were made.”

After the hearing on May 23 and 24, the panel ruled that Mr Westwood “had presented a risk to patients, had brought the profession into disrepute and had breached fundamental tenets of the profession”, and that he was liable to do the same in future.

Two further allegations against Mr Westwood – that he had failed to notice that a patient was dead and had to be told by a ward domestic – were judged “not proved”. An NMC panel said they were based on “a series of hearsay statements from a ward domestic” which were then reported to the night duty co-ordinator.

The failures took place between 2008 and 2010 on ward three at St John’s Hospital, Livingston, which is a mental health ward for the over-65s, and at the specialist dementia unit Maple Villa, at NHS Lothian’s Craigshill Care Facility.

Mr Westwood told the panel he had been medically retired in 2010, although NHS Lothian claimed he had been sacked.

He also admitted that his fitness to practice was impaired and said he did not want to return to work as a registered nurse.

Melanie Hornett, nurse director for NHS Lothian, said: “This person is no longer a member of our staff and was dismissed in 2010.”