A Gosford Hospital nurse charged with stealing a dying patient’s credit card has been suspended from the healthcare profession and could be de-registered as a nurse following a ruling by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Tribunal found, Kristin Shrimpton, guilty of stealing the credit card of 77-year-old Umina woman, Gwendoline McNally, and using it to buy various goods from a shopping centre in Gosford, in 2016.
The Tribunal also found Shrimpton guilty of giving a false and misleading account on multiple occasions about her knowledge of the credit card and the purchases to the victim’s family, her superiors at Gosford Hospital and the Healthcare Complaints Commission.
The Tribunal also found Shrimpton had failed to notify the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as required when she was charged by NSW Police in relation to the theft.
The Healthcare Complaints Commission brought Shrimpton’s case to the Tribunal in November, 2018.
The Tribunal handed down its decision on February 19 and found that “the complaints of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct against Shrimpton to be proved,” triggering their determination that Shrimpton be de-registered as a nurse with a two year non-review period.
It also sought an order that Shrimpton be unable to work in health services as an assistant in nursing until she is re-registered.
An order for costs was also sought.
“The Tribunal finds complaints that Shrimpton dishonestly used a credit card belonging to an elderly patient for her own financial advantage whilst that patient was in her care to be proved.
“When Shrimpton was questioned by her supervisor and her conduct was investigated by the Commission, she failed to give a candid and truthful account.
“She failed to notify AHPRA, as she was required to do by law, that she had been charged with an offence punishable by at least 12 months’ imprisonment.
“The various Codes of Conduct referred to in this decision inform us as to what the profession, as a whole, reasonably expects of its members.
“This includes, but is not limited to, acting in a way that does not exploit the vulnerability of patients.
“Shrimpton was in clear breach of these codes,” the Tribunal’s ruling reads.
Coast Community News understands that the criminal charge of obtaining financial advantage by deception laid against Shrimpton was dropped by NSW Police.
The Tribunal was told police prosecutors withdrew the charge because it was thought the police could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that McNally did not consent to the use of her credit card.
The Tribunal has given Shrimpton, who did not attend the hearing, a grace period to seek legal advice regarding its rulings and to submit any further evidence and submissions, before the Tribunal makes recommendations for further protective orders.
Website, Feb 26
NSW Caselaw, Civil and Administrative Tribunal NSW
Health Care Complaints Commission v Shrimpton 2019 NSWCATOD 25
Dilon Luke, Journalist