Cornwall

Cornwall overdose nurse suspended to improve English

Silhouette of elderly woman being given tea by carer
Image caption When another nurse told her about the overdoses, Ms Petrila's "face was blank with no expression"

A nursing home has defended its decision to employ a nurse who has since been suspended for administering non-fatal overdoses of drugs.

Registered nurse Ronela Petrila made two mistakes administering drugs to a patient at the Tamar House Nursing Home in Saltash, Cornwall.

She was suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for six months with a review so she can improve her English.

The nursing home maintained Ms Petrila spoke English "perfectly".

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel in May heard the home had "concerns regarding her ability to communicate clearly and effectively in English."

But a Tamar House spokesman has since told the BBC her language skills "were not an issue".

"It came as a surprise, we had no worries at all," he said.

The NMC declined to comment on the nursing home's latest remarks.

In suspending Ms Petrila, the NMC panel heard she gave an unnamed patient Diamorphine and Midazolam on 9 February 2017.

She admitted giving 10mg of Diamorphine when the correct prescription was for 2.5-5mg and administering 10mg of Midazolam when the correct prescription was for 2.5mg.

The patient died the next day but the NMC panel said the death was not connected with the overdoses.

The panel heard Ms Petrila administered the doses because she was concerned about the patient's "pain" and "agitation".

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When another nurse told her about the overdoses, Ms Petrila's "face was blank with no expression" and "she did not realise the error until it was pointed out to her", the panel heard.

She took a language test in December 2017 and scored below the pass rate "to provide the appropriate care expected of a registered nurse".

The NMC said that "although no actual harm was caused to the resident", her "errors put the resident at significant risk of harm".

Ms Petrila told the NMC she was "committed to obtaining the required standard and knowledge of English to enable her return to work as a registered nurse".

The panel agreed that suspending for six months with a review would give her enough time to improve her English.

The Royal College of Nursing declined to comment on the case.

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