Tamper probe nurse sacked for theft
A nurse at the centre of alleged saline tampering at a hospital has been sacked, sources have confirmed.
Rebecca Leighton, 28, was released without charge six weeks after being arrested on suspicion of murder when patients at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester, were poisoned.
Charges that she tampered with saline solution with intent to endanger life were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) later lifted its suspension of Miss Leighton, who has always denied the allegations, and said she could return to Stepping Hill if the hospital approved.
During the NMC disciplinary hearing, she admitted to the theft of opiate-based drugs but said they were for her own use to treat a throat infection.
It emerged that she has been sacked following an internal disciplinary hearing at Stepping Hill into the drug thefts.
Stockport Hospital Foundation Trust has declined to comment as it is understood Miss Leighton has the right to appeal before the decision is finalised.
Miss Leighton spent more than six weeks in custody but was freed on September 2 after proceedings against her were discontinued due to insufficient evidence.
The alarm was first raised by hospital staff on July 12 when a higher than normal number of patients were reported to have "unexplained" low blood sugar levels amid fears that saline solution had been contaminated with insulin.
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police said it has completed the first phase of its inquiries and revealed it has determined that 19 people were unlawfully administered insulin. Experts with specialist medical knowledge have been drafted in to assist the investigation and 650 key and significant witnesses have been interviewed by police.