Royal Free nurse accused of leaving needles and syringes near children

The Royal Free Hospital

The Royal Free Hospital - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A nurse accused of leaving needles and syringes in an unlocked filing cabinet near children with mental health problems faces an anxious wait over the future of her career.

Thushara Kasturiratne allegedly stashed the equipment in the bottom drawer of the cabinet while working in the eating disorders service at the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead.

When challenged on the haphazard storage system, the nurse did not understand the potentially dangerous consequences, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard last week.

Dr Mark Berelowitz, clinical lead in the department, said Kasturiratne also stashed personal possessions including bank statements among patient files, but refused to accept it was wrong.

“It seemed self-evident to everybody else that if you have needles in the bottom drawer of an unlocked filing cabinet, inches away from where children and families were sitting, this is an accident waiting to happen,” he said.

“She seemed to not understand that keeping them there was not safe.”

Kasturiratne has admitted working excessive hours and sending a letter that was inappropriate in tone.

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She also admits record-keeping errors and moving patient notes into the nurses’ office and taking them home.

All other allegations are denied.

If her actions are found to amount to misconduct, she could be suspended or struck off.

The hearing was adjourned last Friday and will resume on December 16.