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Disgraced nurse who stole drugs from Antrim Area Hospital A&E is suspended

By Lisa Smyth

Published 06/04/2016

Defendant Trevor Fleming and solicitor Tony Caher (left) leaving Antrim court after an earlier hearing
Defendant Trevor Fleming and solicitor Tony Caher (left) leaving Antrim court after an earlier hearing

The former head of mental health services in the Northern Trust has been banned from working as a nurse after stealing £1,000 of drugs from Antrim Area Hospital.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel found Trevor Fleming's fitness to practise was impaired following his conviction for stealing amyl nitrate capsules and inhalers, also known as poppers, from the A&E department.

Mr Fleming told a hearing in Belfast last week that at the time he committed the offences, he was "experiencing significant pressure at work, being involved as a witness in a difficult employment tribunal and dealing with issues arising from the suicide of a patient".

The NMC, which suspended Mr Fleming's licence for 12 months, said he "had not acted with integrity or honesty".

The panel added his fitness to practise had been impaired as a result of his crimes.

A report explaining the panel's decision read: "The panel noted that you were in an exceptionally senior position at the time and abused the trust that was placed in you by using keys entrusted to you to access the locked fridge to steal amyl nitrate."

However, the panel noted evidence from former colleague Alan Corry-Finn, who is currently the executive director of nursing at the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Mr Corry-Finn last worked with Mr Fleming a decade ago and described him as "a very strong professional" and a "perfectionist".

He told the panel he thought it was a mistake when he heard the allegations against Mr Fleming.

Mr Corry-Finn added he believed the behaviour was a "serious blip" and added that the nursing profession was "poorer" without Mr Fleming.

The panel's report conceded that there was no evidence of Mr Fleming "having any harmful deep-seated personality or attitudinal problems".

During the two-day hearing, it emerged that the band 8C nurse referred himself to the NMC after he was arrested by police for stealing the drugs in November 2014.

The panel was told that while Mr Fleming held a senior position in the trust, he was also a member of the bank nursing workforce and regularly worked Friday nights in the A&E department at Antrim.

On November 8, staff at the hospital's emergency department told police they had seen Mr Fleming on CCTV accessing the resuscitation room fridge and removing a yellow box.

Shortly afterwards, a nurse checked the fridge and discovered that a box of amyl nitrate was missing.

Mr Fleming was reported to police as being suspected of stealing the drugs.

When he was arrested at the hospital, he produced a box of amyl nitrate from his pocket, and when police searched his home at a later stage, they found more amyl nitrate stolen from the same hospital.

Mr Fleming was suspended by the trust on November 13 but resigned on March 9, 2015, before an internal investigation was completed.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to stealing amyl nitrate and was handed a community service order in August last year.

Belfast Telegraph

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