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Mental health nurse allowed to work despite taking cocaine

8 April 2009

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A committee has cleared a psychiatric nurse to work and ruled that she is fit to practise despite her admitting using cocaine.

The Monmouthshire nurse told the Nursing and Midwifery Council panel that she used cocaine “very rarely” but confessed she smoked cannabis on a regular basis.

Victoria Wheeler, 36, from Cardiff, was caught red-handed after leaving her purse with a bag of cocaine in the back of a taxi. She was cautioned by police and suspended from work for a month.

The Conduct and Competence Committee said that the nurse, who works at a medium security mental health hospital, had brought the profession into disrepute but decided she could continue in her role.

Her employers, Llanarth Court Psychiatric Hospital, have also allowed her to continue but failed to take any requested drug tests and have now even promoted her to team leader.

At the hearing, Ms Wheeler denied she had ever had a drug habit or been under the influence of drugs while at work.

The committee said she had stopped using drugs and there was no evidence patients had ever been put at risk. Chairwoman Lesley White added: “The panel is satisfied the registrant has learned her lesson.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Nursing and Midwifery Council