Nurse struck off for multiple offences

A Dunedin registered nurse has been struck off following his conviction earlier this year on four counts of causing loss by deception and one of theft during his employment as manager of the Koputai Lodge.

As well as cancelling Derek George Wilson's registration, the New Zealand Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal ordered him to pay $6600 costs.

It also censured him saying it had to express its strong disapproval for the "dishonest, illegal and unethical conduct" it had been required to review.

It was important a strong deterrent message was sent to other members of the profession, the tribunal said.

The Nursing Council's professional conduct committee brought the case before the tribunal charging that the convictions reflected adversely on Mr Wilson's fitness to practise.

In 2008, Mr Wilson had taken $1191.21 from the petty cash account of his employer, the Koputai Lodge Trust, for his own use. He had also, on 19 separate occasions, bought items for himself to the total value of $1192.71 and charged it to the trust.

When he appeared in the Dunedin District Court in February he was ordered to pay reparation and sentenced to community work.

The tribunal did not name the lodge, but described it as a place which provided accommodation, support and other services in a semi-rural setting for people with a psychiatric diagnosis, offering a family atmosphere.

The professional conduct committee said Mr Wilson had been placed in a position of trust by his employer and he seriously breached that trust over an extended period.

This conduct could not reasonably be considered to enhance the reputation of the nursing profession - "it impacts on the public's confidence in the profession".

It was conduct well below that expected of a registered nurse and "totally unacceptable".

The tribunal said Mr Wilson's explanation to police at the time that he was "in a bad place and was drinking a lot of alcohol" in no way mitigated the misconduct.

Given the seriousness of the offending, a lesser penalty than removal from the register and censure would not be appropriate.


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