A PRISON nurse has been suspended for six months after failing to take the blood pressure of new inmates, then making them up.
Angela Goodman, who worked at Saughton prison for nine years, was in charge of finding out about any illnesses newly admitted prisoners had.
Her job included taking basic observations including height, weight, blood pressure and pulse readings to flag up any health issues or use them for reference at a later date. But she was caught out when she failed to take the readings of six patients when she was being shadowed by a new starter at HMP Edinburgh in December 2011.
When queried, Goodman claimed it was “unnecessary” unless the prisoner had a history of heart problems.
Her colleague reported it to a manager who checked the medical notes of the prisoners in question and found falsified notes on blood pressure and pulse readings.
Goodman later admitted she “sometimes” made up the notes and blamed her failures on being “disheartened, disillusioned and unhappy” at the lack of progress of a transfer request.
A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing was told the patients involved had medical issues including one being a registered alcoholic and another having a history of deep vein thrombosis.
David Collins, on behalf of the NMC, said that although in this instance they came to no harm, Goodman’s failure to separate her personal disillusionment with her professional obligations were “deplorable”.
He said prison populations had a high number of individuals with addiction and long-term physical problems. The blood pressure readings are an important indication of withdrawal, which may require additional treatment.
Kiera Dargie, representing Goodman, said she appreciated the seriousness of the charges and admitted her fitness to practice had been impaired. But she added Goodman, who resigned from her job in April 2012, had 25 years’ experience and a previously good record.
The NMC panel found her actions amounted to misconduct and suspended her for six months to send “a clear message to the public and the profession of the standards expected of a registered nurse”. An 18-month interim suspension order, issued in case of appeal when there is deemed to be a risk to public safety, was also applied.
In its findings, the panel stated: “The panel has no evidence to suggest that you have expressed any remorse for your actions or made any apology.”
Goodman has since been suspended from a care home in Aberdeenshire amid allegations of a medication error in February this year.