Thieving nurse struck off

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A THIEVING dental nurse has been struck off the register.

Joanne Hammond took cash intended for a charity to support cancer sufferers, the General Dental Council (GDC) was told.

The trusted health worker, from Drumaldrace, Blackfell, Washington, also pocketed thousands of pounds from the North East practice where she worked.

At a hearing in London, a GDC professional conduct committee was told that between January 2008 and February 2009, Hammond stole £4,216 from Rosebrough Dental Practice, in Four Lane Ends, North Tyneside.

Also, between February 1 and February 28, 2009, she took £35 belonging to the Marie Curie charity.

In a statement, committee chairman John Scott said: “The committee also found proved further allegations that, in order to disguise her thefts, she failed to make entries in the practice’s cash account ledger books which she then removed from the premises.

“It had little trouble in determining these serious offences of dishonesty breached the trust placed in her by her employer and brought the wider profession of dentistry into disrepute, and that therefore these actions amounted to misconduct.”

He added: “The committee was concerned at her level of dishonesty and its persistence over a lengthy period of time.

“Her actions led to staff unnecessarily being placed under suspicion, to their great discomfort, and put the practice in direct conflict with the principles of patient care.”

Last year, Hammond pleaded to four counts of theft when she appeared before North Tyneside magistrates.

In April, she was sentenced to a 12-month community order, with probation service supervision and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Hammond was also ordered to pay £1,580 compensation to practice boss Mark Pattinson, £35 to Marie Curie and £85 court costs.

Mr Scott said: “The committee has seen no evidence of remorse addressed to the GDC on the part of Ms Hammond, and has been provided with no information concerning the extent to which she is complying with her community order.

“It is concerned that she has not provided any evidence of insight into the seriousness of her actions, and the degree to which they are at variance with the responsibilities and attitudes of a member of the wider dental profession.”

Mr Scott said the pattern of dishonesty was so serious, it would be “entirely wrong” not to take action, or issue a reprimand or suspension.

“Accordingly, the committee directs the registrar to erase the name of Joanne Hammond from the Dental Care Professionals Register.”