Nurse vows to clear her name

Pauline Smith was accused of misconduct while working at Abbeydale Care Home, Blackpool
Pauline Smith was accused of misconduct while working at Abbeydale Care Home, Blackpool
Have your say

A nurse who worked at a former troubled Blackpool care home has been hauled before a regulating body for misconduct.

After a week-long hearing in London, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found Pauline Smith had no case to answer for six of the eight charges against her, mostly relating to how she administered medicine given to residents while working at the now closed Abbeydale Care Home, on New South Promenade.

Mrs Smith, 58, admitted a charge of acting inappropriately to one resident by saying she could not be having a heart attack with breast implants, but the panel decided it did not amount to misconduct and that Mrs Smith could continue practising as a nurse.

And it determined that a charge of Mrs Smith failing to weigh a resident and update his care records was not proved.

The NMC argued the case on behalf of the care home, which shut down last year after a damning report by the Care Quality Commission.

The council said Mrs Smith had humiliated a dementia patient with her comments about her breast implants.

The resident, who had previously struck a staff member, was complaining of chest pain, and Mrs Smith said she may have been causing the pain by squeezing her breasts, which contained the implant.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Smith said: “I should not have said what I did, and it’s not the type of thing I would generally do.”

Mrs Smith was dismissed from her job as a staff nurse in September 2011 after a dossier of complaints was made against her by other staff members.

She said: “I have been nursing since I was 17 and to have that taken away from you is horrible.

“These charges are very serious and I am pleased I have had the chance to put the record straight.”

Among the charges was an allegation that Mrs Smith, who lives in Preston, had withheld pain medication to a dying man.

The panel found that the evidence against her on the charge was hearsay, and that it wouldn’t be appropriate to attach “significant weight to this account”.

Its report states there were discrepancies in the evidence given by two former Abbeydale nurses, Suzanne Scholz and Ella Mazur, between their statements and their questioning in the hearing.

Mrs Smith, who is now working at a care home in Chorley, said: “All this has made me a stronger person, but I’m so pleased it’s over.”