Nurse struck off after pain relief dispute

Ms Sutcliffe worked at Kettering Hospital
Ms Sutcliffe worked at Kettering Hospital

A nurse who refused to give pain relief to a patient has been struck off.

Eileen Cutliffe, who worked at Kettering Hospital, had been suspended for 12 months in April last year, after telling the patient’s family: “I will not give morphine. Palliative care is not about killing people.”

The suspension was extended for a further six months in April 2013.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing, held last week, was told the outburst caused distress to the patient’s family by implying his daughter was trying to kill her own father, something the panel said brought the nursing profession into disrepute.

The incident took place in the Lamport Ward at the hospital in March 2009.

In the published findings from the hearing, the report added: “The panel was of the view that Ms Cutliffe had put a specific patient at unwarranted risk of harm, in that she caused that patient unnecessary suffering by refusing to administer pain relief.

“The panel determined that such behaviour brings the nursing profession into disrepute and breaches a fundamental tenet of the profession to provide appropriate and adequate care.”

Ms Cutliffe, who was not present or represented at the misconduct hearing, was struck off to protect the public and satisfy the public interest.

The panel ruled her fitness to practise remained impaired.