Royal Free nurse struck off for stealing £700 from patient with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 17:40 04 January 2016 | UPDATED: 23:10 10 January 2016

The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead

The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A nurse has been struck off for stealing a bank card from a “vulnerable” patient with learning disabilities at the Royal Free Hospital and helping herself to £700.

A conduct hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) today heard that junior sister Karisma Garcia, 37, of Cambridge Avenue, Brent, took a bank card belonging to patient Maurice Downey.

She was later caught on CCTV withdrawing the money from a cash machine at the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, in October 2014,

Garcia was arrested and later sentenced to 100 hours community service by Highbury magistrates last January after admitting one count of theft.

She was also ordered to pay Mr Downey £700 compensation.

Garcia, who failed to attend the NMC hearing and now lives in Denmark, had been working as a category 6 junior sister with a managerial role at the Royal Free, in Pond Street, since 2009.

The NMC committee ruled Garcia’s fitness to practice was impaired by her dishonesty and ordered her to be struck off the nursing register.

Henry Vallance, for the NMC, told the hearing: “The theft of money from a vulnerable patient by a nurse in the course of her duty is conduct which brings the profession into disrepute.” .

Panel chairman Leslie Cuthbert said: “Patient A was a vulnerable individual. Although there was no physical harm to him, psychological harm was caused by the dishonesty. The patient was reported to be upset by what occurred and is highly likely to lose trust in the nursing profession.”

A full report of the hearing will be in the Ham&High, on sale on Thursday.

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