North West Wales

North Wales Police nurse Anna Hulse 'lied about cancer'

A North Wales Police custody nurse claimed she had throat cancer to avoid disciplinary action over her sickness absence rate, a panel has heard.

Anna Hulse, 49, from Anglesey, took 69 days of sick leave in three years, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel sitting in Cardiff heard.

The panel was told she also made an allegation of bullying against an officer dealing with absence levels.

The panel are reviewing her fitness to work.

Ms Hulse was part of a small team of 19 custody nurses that had lost 200 days to sickness in a three-year period to August 2008, the hearing heard.

In summer 2008, the force brought in Ch Insp Robert Adams to head its medical services division, with a view to cutting chronically high sickness absence rates by 50% in six months.

Cancer claim

Ch Insp Robert Adams, now retired, told the panel that during a meeting with Ms Hulse in June 2008 to discuss her chronic absenteeism record she broke down.

"I asked her, 'Is there anything behind these sickness absences which would have an explanation?'," he said.

"With that she just burst out crying, which took me aback to be honest. It was a reaction I did not expect.

"I said, 'What is the matter, what has happened?', and she said, 'I have throat cancer', and then I felt just dreadful. I felt awful."

Ch Insp Adams told the hearing that Ms Hulse explained she had a low white blood cell count because of her treatment, which meant she kept getting ill.

But this explanation did not ring true with him.

Bullying accusations

"She could not look me in the face when she told me this," he said. "I felt that she was telling me untruths. I questioned her integrity, if you like."

He said that he eventually sent an email to several senior colleagues warning them of what he suspected.

Ch Insp Adams said Ms Hulse made the bullying accusations against him after he had reviewed her work and deemed it "poor".

Ch Insp Adams told the hearing that the bullying accusation, which was rejected after investigation, meant Ms Hulse was able to go on claiming her £40,000 a year salary package, including a car, for more than a year.

The panel said that despite being invited, Ms Hulse had declined to attend the hearing and had previously said: "I do not think that I could cope with the embarrassment."

It is expected to reach a decision on her fitness to work as a result of her alleged dishonesty on Tuesday.

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