North West Wales

Fake cancer claim nurse Anna Hulse is banned

A police custody nurse has been struck-off for falsely claiming she had throat cancer to avoid being disciplined for her high sickness absence.

Anna Hulse, 49, from Anglesey, has been banned from the profession for an indefinite period.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel heard she had been off work for 69 days during three years.

The panel made the order at the end of a three-day hearing in Cardiff she had declined to attend.

Hulse will have to wait five years before being eligible to request the ban is lifted.

Hulse was a senior nurse with North Wales Police when bosses decided to take action over her high sickness absence rate.

She led a team of 18 nurses which had lost 200 days to sickness in the three years to August 2008.

Wave of sympathy

Worst among them was Hulse, who was responsible for 69 days alone and 24 of those in less than one year.

When she was offered help in improving her work attendance record, she broke down and claimed it was all due to throat cancer.

After benefiting from a wave of workplace sympathy, her boss grew suspicious that she was lying.

Hulse then brought false bullying and workplace harassment accusations against him in an apparent bid to discredit him.

Police chiefs brought in chief inspector Robert Adams to head the force's medical services division in summer 2008 to sort out a series of problems.

Mr Adams, now retired but who had previously worked as a counter-terrorism adviser at the Welsh Assembly, said he had initially been shocked by her claim of suffering throat cancer and offered her his full support.

"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."

He said she explained she had a low white blood cell count because of her treatment, which meant she kept getting ill.

False accusations

As a result, the review process she was under, which could conclude in dismissal, was immediately stopped and most of her sickness absence record wiped.

But Mr Adams grew suspicious of her claims when she took two weeks' sick leave a full 18 months after her supposed operation.

That eventually triggered her false accusations against him which meant she was able to go on claiming her £40,000-a-year salary package, including a car, for more than a year.

Mr Adams was investigated and exonerated of bullying, before Hulse's story was checked with her GP.

Her medical records showed that she had never suffered from throat cancer.

Hulse resigned from the force days before she was due to attend an internal work hearing for gross misconduct.

The panel in Cardiff was told she is no longer working as a nurse and wanted to avoid the "embarrassment" of attending the hearing.

It found the accusations against her to be proved and concluded her misconduct impaired her fitness to practice.

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