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Disgraced nurse jailed for stealing £7.4k from Armagh patients is struck off

By Staff Reporter

Published 23/06/2015

Cathy Claire Conway
Cathy Claire Conway

A thieving nurse who defrauded thousands of pounds from vulnerable patients has been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Cathy Claire Conway, who worked at Longstone Hospital, Co Armagh, was disgraced in June last year when she was handed an 11-month jail term at Newry Crown Court.

She admitted 25 counts of forgery, one of false accounting and another of fraud by abusing her position as a registered nurse.

The NMC's conduct and competence committee was told she had ripped off more than £7,400 from 29 patients with learning disabilities.

Her trial was told the hospital had a system in place for patients to hold monies in personal accounts to buy themselves clothing and other personal items and to pay for trips. To prevent fraud, any money withdrawn in a booklet by a nurse on behalf of a patient had to be countersigned by a senior nurse.

In May 2009 the fraud came to light and staff discovered pages were found to have been torn out of account books.

The committee has now terminated her nursing career after describing her behaviour towards patients as "disgraceful and deplorable".

The NMC heard Ms Conway had resigned from the hospital under a cloud in 2009 while the disappearance of patients' money was being investigated.

She got a new job at the Laganvale Care Home, in Moira, Co Antrim, by telling bosses she had resigned.

She was warned that she was under disciplinary investigation in December 2009, but she didn't tell her employers.

Even when she was suspended from the profession temporarily in May 2010, she kept quiet about it and carried on working at the care home.

The committee found a litany of eight disciplinary charges against her proved.

She was guilty of "multiple acts of dishonesty" over a lengthy period and had succeeded in concealing the truth from her bosses.

By doing so, she had placed her colleagues, patients and members of the public at risk and violated the "fundamental tenets" of the nursing profession.

As well as bringing nursing into disrepute, she had put patients "at unwarranted risk of harm and betrayed their trust", the committee found.

There was no evidence that she had shown any remorse.

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