Stafford Hospital scandal: A&E nurses lied over care delays, Nursing and Midwifery Council told
TWO 'bullying' nurses at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital deliberately faked accident unit records to meet waiting time targets, a disciplinary hearing has been told.
Sharon Turner and Tracy White are both accused of falsely logging that patients were discharged earlier than they actually were to meet Government four-hour A&E treatment targets.
Both nurses are also said to have inappropriately transferred patients to other departments in the hospital, either because they had not yet been properly assessed or they knew there were no beds.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard Turner allegedly told a shocked colleague to 'lie about it' when informed they had missed the target in several emergency cases, and swore at another who told a manager about the breaches.
It is also claimed she racially abused a junior Asian doctor by calling him 'Osama's mate' and asking if he had a bomb in his rucksack.
White is appearing before the NMC to face five misconduct charges. Turner faces six charges.
The accusations against White run from March 2006 to July 2010, while Turner's charges cover July 2007 to October 2009.
Both nurses were working in casualty during those periods.
Hannah Eales, for the NMC, said: "There were a number of matters of concern which occurred in A&E.
"There was a lot of pressure on staff to meet the four-hour target, and a failure to meet it would result in investigation from higher management, which would result in staff being reprimanded."
Whistleblower Helene Donnolly told the inquiry: "The demands by Sister White and Sister Turner would appear frequently, during almost every shift.
"Sister Turner and Sister White would often demand I or my colleagues change the discharge times to avoid a breach. They would frequently lie about discharge times, and pressurise members of staff to lie.
"They would speak nastily and swear at people who did not change the times, or would change the times themselves.
"To me, falsifying patient records seemed insane.
"I was told, in no uncertain terms, if we did not meet targets heads would roll.
"I was concerned about the terrible consequences our actions would have on patient care."
The identities of some of the complainants have not been disclosed.
But lawyer James Townsend, who is representing both nurses, described 'considerable friction' in the accident unit.
He said: "In some of the charges, the registrants are having to face allegations where they don't even know who it is claimed is making the allegations."
The hearing continues.