Merseyside nurse struck off after covid and stroke failings

A series of fitness to practise hearings deemed Barbara Eckersley had failed to uphold the expected standards of a nurse

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A Merseyside nurse has been struck off after failing to provide vital information to paramedics after a care home resident suffered a suspected stroke.

Barbara Eckersley, who was unit manager at Eccleston Court Care Home in St Helens, was found to have failed to given important details to paramedics as well as not adhering to regulations during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

A series of fitness to practise hearings deemed Mrs Eckersley had failed to uphold the expected standards of a nurse practitioner at the dementia care home to two patients.

As a result, she has been barred from working in the profession, having admitted a number of serious breaches.

Among these were a failure to wear appropriate PPE on more than one occasion between April 16 and 22, as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold. It was also admitted by Mrs Eckersley that she did not ensure suitable infection controls were in place and told the home’s quality director she had indeed been wearing the correct protective equipment.

A charge against Mrs Eckersley was also proven in that she did not ensure there were sufficient supplies of blood clot medication for a woman known as Patient A in 2020. A report outlining the GMC’s findings detailed how her family had to contact a GP to secure the required medication after Mrs Eckersley admitted she had been responsible for ensuring medications were in supply but had not administered this appropriately.

Additionally, the former nurse was sanctioned for failing to provide vital information when Patient A suffered a suspected stroke in April 2020. The NMC panel took into account evidence provided by her family, which said: “The paramedics asked Barbara for the necessary documents to take with them to A&E and I saw her hand them an A4 sized red wallet, allegedly containing key documents to assist with Mum’s admission at hospital.

“However, upon arrival at A&E, the paramedics informed me that the envelope contained only Mum’s DNR form; they were astounded at the lack of information provided by Barbara, Care Home Manager and nursing staff. This information was essential as I was not able to accompany Mum into the hospital due to Covid-19 restrictions and she would not have been able to provide any information herself due to her dementia.”

Further charges were found proven in terms of providing personal care to Patient A, including failing to raise dropping fluids and food intake levels with family members and allowing medication to be missed. Oral care was also not given to the woman, whose family reported her as having “something rotting” inside her mouth before her death.

In reaching its decision, the NMC said the panel was of the view that these breaches of the amounted to misconduct due to the “extent of the acts and omissions” on the part of Mrs Eckersley as an experienced nurse and experienced in the protocols of the Home. The report added: “The panel noted the risk of harm arising from failing to provide patient care by not prioritising the safety of vulnerable residents, including in the context of the COVID-19.

“The panel found that the charges which were admitted and proved included three separate instances of dishonesty, not ensuring Patient A’s fluid and food intake was maintained, failure to ensure personal and oral care, not providing sufficient information to family and other health professionals and not ensuring sufficient supplies of medication were serious and would be considered deplorable by fellow professionals.”

In determining the striking out order, the panel was not satisfied that the nurse had demonstrated complete insight and there remained a significant risk of repetition. As a result, the panel therefore determined that striking-off was the only sanction which would be sufficient to protect patients, members of the public and maintain professional standards.