A businesswoman who sold botox and other beauty treatments has been reprimanded for prescribing tranquillisers, anti-depressants and sedatives.
Caroline Jane Spencer, a registered aesthetics nurse, was suspended for 12 months after staff at Lloyds Pharmacy became suspicious and tipped off regulators.
Spencer, who ran Beau-Time in Red Bank Road, Bispham, before going on to work at Preston prison, put five people at risk over an eight-month period, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel heard.
“You placed patients at unwarranted risk of harm and undermined the standards and reputation of the profession,” it told her.
“An interim suspension order is necessary for the protection of the public and is otherwise in the public interest.”
Spencer admitted a number of accusations that were levelled at her late last month, including prescribing drugs in the incorrect dosage, failing to keep ‘sufficient and/or accurate’ records, and acting inappropriately and outside the scope of her practice.
The panel was told she had prescribed and administered medication for a number of patients undergoing treatments in her practice, suffering from ‘anxiety and needle phobia’, as well as for prescriptions for an alcoholic suffering from alcohol withdrawal, and a repeat prescription for treatment not connected with her practice.
They were Diazepam, a tranquillizer commonly used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal; Zopiclone, used to treat insomnia; Amitriptyline, an anti-depressant; Chlordiazepoxide Hydrochloride, also used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal; Omeprazole, used to treat acid reflux; Ibuprofen, a common anti-inflammatory available over the counter; and Vitamin B compound strong, used to treat conditions resulting from a vitamin B deficiency.
In November 2013, the NMC received a referral ‘who raised concerns regarding your prescribing practice for quantities and types of medicine which were unusual in the field of aesthetic cosmetic treatments,’ documents seen by The Gazette read.
They added: “The pharmacy also raised concerns that you were bringing these private prescriptions into their pharmacy on behalf of the patients you had prescribed for. The pharmacy states the patients ... had never been seen by them.”
David Morris, representing Spencer, said his client accepted her failings ‘fall seriously short of the standard required’ and admitted the quantities of Diazepam prescribed were ‘excessive’.
However, he said she ‘adopted a process to ensure the patients received only two tablets’.
She ‘retained the medication’ and ‘destroyed the drugs which were not used’, he added, issued medication to two parents after getting advice from a specialist, and only after checking drugs had already been prescribed by one’s own GP.
“In prescribing outside your scope of practice in relation to five separate patients, and in not providing sufficient and/or accurate records in relation to your prescribing practice, you demonstrated a blatant disregard, and a complete lack of understanding, of the NMC prescribing standards required of you.
“You prescribed medication which you had no knowledge, skill, or expertise to prescribe.
“The panel considered that this would be viewed by fellow members of the profession as deplorable and therefore concluded that this amounted to serious misconduct.”
Spencer had been having monthly meetings with her supervisor and had been stopped from independently prescribing anything other than botox, while she completed an online course in ‘prescribing safely and accountably’.
“Despite this, the panel was concerned you have not applied the theory and supervision to your practice,” the papers added.
“There remains a lack of understanding from you of the actions you need to undertake to fully remediate your misconduct.
“It therefore concluded that there remains a real risk of repetition.”
The panel considered striking Spencer off but said that would have been ‘disproportionate’, adding it would ‘be contrary to the interests of the public if it was to remove you from the register permanently, given that you are an otherwise capable and caring nurse’.
The website for Beau-Time, which was based above De La Warr Butchers in Bispham village, could not be reached, while an advertised number was wrong, The Gazette was told.