Queen’s Hospital midwife receives suspended sentence for morphine theft

Queen's Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford

Queen's Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford - Credit: Archant

A Queen’s Hospital midwife who stole 27 doses of morphine has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Laura MacNeil, 24, of Burnam-on-Crouch, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of theft of morphine, a Class A drug, from the flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on December 8.

MacNeil also admitted possessing co-codamol, a Class B drug, and diazepam, a Class C drug.

She was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years while appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday last week.

MacNeil was working on an antenatal ward within Queen’s Hospital when the offences occurred, between June 15 and 18, 2016.

A series of false patient entries in a controlled drug register were made by her to obtain doses of morphine, which she administered to herself.

Officers from Metropolitan Police’s Controlled Drug Liaison Unit arrested MacNeil on July 14 last year and she was charged on November 22.

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The matter has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which will conduct its own investigation and decide on sanctions regarding MacNeil’s registration and fitness to practice as a nurse.

As part of her criminal sentence, MacNeil must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Pc Wendy McAllister, who led the investigation, said: “MacNeil abused her position of trust as a midwife to steal morphine for her own use.

“Although no patients went without their prescriptions, MacNeil set up false entries on the controlled drug register using the names of people on the ward she was treating.

“This case demonstrates how the Controlled Drug Liaison Unit will prosecute any medical professional guilty of stealing from their employer.”

Chief Nurse, Kathryn Halford, said: “We’d like to thank the Metropolitan Police for working with us as soon as this incident came to light, and in taking swift action to keep our patients and staff safe.

“I would like to reassure everyone that no harm was caused to patients.

“I encourage all our patients, members of the public and our staff to raise any concerns, including potential criminal activity. This enables us to take immediate action so we keep our patients and staff safe from harm.”